Nearly a month after the announcement that USF fired Head Coach Jeff Scott, USF welcomed its new head man Alex Golesh with an introductory press conference at the Sam and Martha Gibbons Alumni Center almost three years after Scott’s introduction.
The hall was packed for the open-to-the-public press conference with athletics staff, media, players, coaches, and the Herd of Thunder Marching Band to usher in a new era of USF Football.
USF Board of Trustees Chair Will Weatherford kicked things off mentioning “we got our guy, we got the right guy” when addressing the search for the Bulls’ sixth head coach in program history. As news broke on Saturday that USF was closing in on a deal, corners of social media thought his name came out of nowhere after Deion Sanders and Jamey Chadwell were linked to the job. VP of Athletics Michael Kelly addressed the conversation started a few weeks ago after Tennessee’s final game vs. Vanderbilt.
President Rhea Law also addressed the crowd starting with a hearty “go Bulls” and assuring fans “you are witnessing the beginning.” President Law discussed how athletics is the front porch of the University and therefore needs to mirror what the institution is doing as the fastest rising public university. The President spoke quickly implying that Golesh has already “hit the ground running.”
Michael Kelly was next and he made sure to introduce Golesh as a “turnaround specialist” with his work under Matt Campbell at Iowa State and Josh Heupal at Tennessee. He also made sure to specifically say he was the “conductor and play caller” for the best offense in the country to anyone who was thinking the contrary. One point Kelly kept driving home is Golesh has done this at multiple locations and has done every single job. Kelly also reminded everyone that the CFP will be expanding to 12 teams in 2024, and that this is a new age of modern college football.
When Golesh took the podium to a standing ovation in the Alumni Center, you could feel the baton being passed to a new age of Bulls football as he said our favorite word - “alignment is a big time word in this deal.” From the board, to the AD, to the President. Golesh discussed his up-bringing, continuously thanked his family, mentors, coaches, players, and everyone that gave him an opportunity to be here. He mentioned how they’ll have a player-driven leadership and how the players are the best recruiters in the locker room. He thanked the players and coaches that were in attendance and stated “this is not about me.” It’s about the players, students, and alumni.
The biggest note from this potion of the press conference was discussing the magic word - NIL. Coming from Tennessee, who has a very active and established collective, Golesh has seen how it can contribute to the program. “We have to get the NIL part of it right here.”
Golesh announced a few days ago that he would not coach in the Orange Bowl for the Vols and instead will hit the ground running for USF assembling a staff and hitting the recruiting trail. He has spoken to almost all of the current staff and did not rule out retaining any current staffers. Interim Head Coach Daniel da Prato was an attendee to the press conference. Talking outside with the media, Golesh was genuine with his answers and discussed his method to recruiting is to be creative, out-work people, and to be honest as they can see through whatever you say. He mentioned to find reasons why they should fall in love with this place notating the palm trees and water. Yes, it’s 80 degrees today on December 5. He spoke about meeting with the team even though it’s finals week and to “have a little blind faith.” He mentioned some will and some won’t.
The goal is to have the majority of the staff early next week out recruiting as he mentioned he already has a Defensive Coordinator—hello Todd Orlando— that he’s excited about his choice. When it comes to the offense he said the system will look like whatever our players allow it to be. That the speed will be fast, but the system grows and evolves. “From a blind eye it looks like there’s a system, but it’s all scheme.” (Ed. Note: Seth’s going to love that.)
Expressed that Coach Heupal was huge on teaching and turning over the playcalling to him was all about trust. The structure of playcalling will all be determined on the Offensive Coordinator hire, but Golesh mentioned he’s comfortable calling plays from the sideline or trusting his staff. “A lot will unfold in the next 48 hours.”
For a program and fanbase that is hungry for wins and any sign of positive improvement, Golesh delivered an excellent introductory press conference that should have turned any non-believers. Now all eyes turn to staff assembly, the portal, and the early signing period.