Firing of USF head football coach Skip Holtz is big news for non-sports fans, too

USF Football program is key to its image

TAMPA - Tampa Catholic football coach Bob Henriquez remembers a time when the University of South Florida was overshadowed by a small private college 3,000 miles away.

"I said something about USF to my roommate from California and he said, 'University of San Francisco?'   I said 'University of South Florida.'  He didn't even know what that was back then," said Henriquez.

That has changed for several reasons.  USF's sheer size puts an estimated $3.7 billion into the Tampa Bay area economy.

USF ranks in the top ten worldwide for the number of patents.

But most of all, it's USF's entry into division one football.

"It changes the entire dynamic of the university, in terms of fundraising and the perception of the outside looking in.  It's a huge cash cow," says Henriquez.

Football also raises the prestige of a school, even for non-athletes, and bonds the entire student body.  That's why nearly every student on campus Monday had an opinion on the firing of head coach Skip Holtz over the weekend.
Junior Katie Kuckkahn says it's the talk of the campus.

"I see it all over Facebook that it's finally happened, so it's meant to be."
Tyler Soltis thinks John Gruden would be a good choice.
But some worry the uncertainty is already hurting recruitment.   Star Quarterback, Asiantii Woulard from Winter Park de-committed to USF when he heard news of the firing, though Tampa Catholic's Zach Benjamin is reportedly sticking with the bulls.

Benjamin's coach, Henriquez, says the football program and the school will be just fine.

"I would tell the folks that are committed, like Zach Benjamin of Tampa Catholic, to hang in there and I'm sure the school is going to bring someone in capable to take over.  And go bulls."

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