An Open Letter to Coach Jeff Scott and Staff.

Dear Coach Scott and (soon to be) Staff,

Welcome to USF, home to one of the largest upside (and most perilous) jobs out there. The upside is there to grab some of the nation’s best recruits and build a winner very quickly. Perilous because if you can’t succeed in this recruiting hot bed, where will you succeed? Seems simple, but there is always a catch. And understanding that catch could make or break what comes next in your post-USF life

We had as great of a start to our program as any school could hope. Our first head coach was like being in a tumultuous, passionate, albeit slightly abusive, marriage. The highs were simply euphoric and the lows were devastatingly heart breaking. No one could decide if our penchant for November collapses could be fixed (mostly because no school had ever been in that situation at such a young age and might just be growing pains, lack of depth, etc.) or if they were worth it to experience the feeling of slaying the blue-blooded giants of college football each September. We knew the tales of head-butting helmets at halftime as we’d see our coach run onto the field with blood smeared on his face a time or two. But we decided to looks the other way for simple reasons, like the feeling that everything was going to work out even as we trailed #13 Kansas by 17 points in the second quarter, and we were proven right many times over. We should have seen the end coming, but we refused to look in that direction. The marriage ended the way you would expect, even more swiftly than our rise to prominence and with a tinge of violence.

Please understand that the passion of those early days paid off in ways no one could ever predict. A certain former editor of this very blog claimed we would never see the upper bowl of Raymond James Stadium opened up for a USF game. But a centaur-esque creature made from a combination of unbridled passion and upset wins kicked in the gates of Ray Jay and brought 65,000 Bulls and Tampanians with it. What’s even more unbelievable is: they stayed. They weren’t all there for the Charleston Southerns or the Ball States to open the season, but any time a team arrived in Tampa with a number in front of their name, the red and pewter of Raymond James would be swallowed in a sea of green and gold. All of this happened in a city that offers beaches, professional sports, theme parks, and is, at times, overrun with residents who attended (and many more who did not) the much longer established schools of Florida and Florida State. Unfortunately, through a series of bad hires and even worse conference realignment management, the fans have since been lost. Not all of us of course, but enough to keep our attendance numbers as a regular punchline in local news articles of maladjusted sportswriters.

We die hard fans need you to know all of the aforementioned so that we can tell you this: Do not despair, because although they are not present at the moment, these lost fans are not far away. It will not happen overnight, as FAU’s newest head coach found out, so please do not expect your sell out crowds after your first ranking or winning season. It won’t happen. We’ve been broken, hurt, and lied to. We were told that staying firm with the Big East was the prudent path, we were told our last coach was being paid peanuts because of his former contract, we were told time and time again by men who have stood where you now stand that we would win a championship. We have been beaten down, but we want to get up again. You can do it, but like the creature of yesteryear, you must smash through the gates of Ray Jay with ferocity, reckless abandon, and most importantly, a sound game plan.

Please understand your opportunity to hear the roar of a desperately hungry fan base is fleeting. You will have opportunities to win them back with the schedule laid out before you, but do not falter in these moments. Do not pack the bulk of the stadium for Wisconsin or Florida State and blow your shot, because they will leave as quickly as they arrived. Instead, please know the meaning behind a game like that to such a young program. We do not have a Bobby Bowden or Steve Spurrier holding up a trophy while wearing our colors. Every big win has the potential to be our biggest win so please know that a mid-September matchup means more to us than the fans of the school you left behind.

Win those big games and see the masses return, and when they return, hold on. We fans are unbridled in our enthusiasm and have taken over historic venues like Doak Campbell and Jordan-Hare stadium, not with population, but with noise. Our cheers have drowned out war chants and fight songs when we have been grossly outnumbered, so imagine the proverbial 12th man that we can bring to your field when we are the majority.

No one can be the father of this program again, that role is gone. But you can be our shepherd, to guide us where we need to go and bring back those that lost their way. You can protect us from the dangers that lurk in the peripheral and make sure that when the day comes that you do leave us, we are stronger, rejuvenated, and in a place to care for ourselves. That is what we fans ask of you, not to stay forever, but to leave us with feelings of euphoria and success that will stay forever in your stead. Do this, and whatever it is you want for your future in coaching you may have. You have to tools to build a great team without ever getting on an airplane to visit a recruit, and you have the chance to win at a level never before seen in this program; two things that are perhaps a most unique combination in all of college football. Good luck to you all, and Go Bulls.


Section 215 Row A Seat 10

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