South Florida athletic director Michael Kelly wants a new head coach in place by the 18th of this month so the Bulls don’t miss out on the early recruiting. Make no mistake about it Kelly would not have fired Charlie Strong without at least a shortlist of candidates to replace him.
“We’re safely planted in the top half of the American Conference in terms of what we have in our salaries,” Kelly said. “We’ll be prepared to go into the marketplace with a competitive salary offer.”
On paper, Strong was a perfect hire and it was indeed a shame that things did not work out. Kelly is a detail-oriented guy who is always looking ahead to promote the Bulls.
So, where does Kelly find his next head coach?
The man to watch is the University of Florida assistant head coach and tight ends coach Larry Scott. He is a former South Florida player, knows how to recruit the state, and has had experience as a head coach as a fill-in when Al Golden was fired from Miami but despite being the players favorite the full-time job went to a big name hire Mark Richt.
There can be no doubt that Scott would be a great addition and he could rally Bull Nation. He will get a head coaching job if not this go around, then perhaps next season.
Kelly must Scott on his sort list along with the two hot young Clemson co-offensive coordinators Jeff Scott, and Tony Elliott. Both men have the credentials to be a fine head coach, but it is more likely they will get one of the ever-growing list of Power 5 openings that seem to grow every day.
We know that former South Florida head coach Willie Taggart wants to get his old job back. As wonderful a man that Taggart is his returning South Florida as the head coach would be a mistake.
After leaving South Florida for the head coach job at Oregon and then left for Tallahassee for his dream job as the boss at Florida State where he was fired this season. Giving him his old job back after he failed at Florida State would be a mistake.
Taggart is a wonderful recruiter, knows the high school coaches in Florida, but is lacking as a game day coach. We saw it with a high number of penalties during games at USF, then again at Oregon and finally at Florida State.
We will see who Kelly gets but it is very likely we won’t have to wait long to find out who the new head coach will be. Let’s hope the person picked that they can get the Bulls back as a force in the AAC.