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Bulls Bulletin: November Edition


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Horns up, Bulls fans!

We say consistently to our student-athletes that the most important aspect of their time at USF is to GRADUATE. To that end, we received more good news this week regarding their progress in reaching that goal.

USF Athletics posted a program record in the classroom for the second straight year when we recorded an 83 percent Graduation Success Rate (GSR) announced by the NCAA this week. We also had a record nine programs match or exceed program record GSR scores. 

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These are terrific numbers that demonstrate the hard work put in by our student-athletes and the team effort and dedication of our coaches and Academic Services staff to achievement in the classroom. The 2015 numbers represent scholarship student-athletes over a six-year period starting with freshmen that entered college in 2008. 

We are committed to the total student-athlete experience at USF. I’m so proud of how our student-athletes have embraced that commitment by continuing to succeed at a high level in the classroom.  Our coaches and staff that work so hard to ensure our student-athletes reach their goals and dreams both within athletic competition and beyond it. Donors in the Bulls Club should also be commended for investing in the opportunities for these young people who leave USF with a degree and go on to great things in our community and beyond.

We have seen our overall program GSR rise substantially over the last six years and now well exceed the national average of 75 percent for Football Bowl Subdivision schools. Three of our women’s programs posted perfect GSR scores of 100. First, the women’s basketball program led by Coach Fernandez, coming off its second NCAA Tournament appearance in the last three seasons, and Coach Eriksen’s softball program; both programs succeeded for the fourth straight year.  Women’s tennis, in its first year under Coach Moros, also posted a 100 percent GSR mark for the second straight year. Women’s volleyball under Coach Draper increased its GSR for the third straight year to post a program record 92 percent mark. All of our eight women’s programs posted an 89 or higher GSR score while averaging a 94 percent score across the board.

Standouts on our men’s side included the football program, which improved its GSR score for the third-straight year under Coach Taggart, logging a program-record 74 percent GSR. Coach Kiefer’s men’s soccer program improved its GSR for the third-straight year and by nearly 70 points in the last 10 years as their program record 95 percent GSR to lead all American Athletic Conference soccer teams. Also among the five men’s programs to post record scores were men’s tennis (80%), which is coming off back-to-back conference championships and the program’s first appearance in the NCAA Sweet 16 under Coach Hill, and men’s track and field and cross country (83%) led by Coach Bye and Coach Reif.

Excitement Builds for Basketball Season

I hope all of you are as excited as I am for what’s going to be a thrilling and unforgettable basketball season!

The bond shared by our teams is as strong as ever following the foreign tour of Spain this summer and now it’s time for everyone to unite during an action packed season at the Sun Dome.

It all starts with Coach Antigua’s men’s team gearing up for the season with a home exhibition game against Eckerd on Monday, Nov. 9 at 7 p.m. The Bulls begin the regular season with five straight home games, starting Friday, Nov. 13 against Troy at 8:30 p.m. View the season schedule HERE.

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Nov. 13 is a special day for USF Athletics and the excitement ramps up with the first game of a basketball doubleheader. Coach Fernandez’s nationally ranked women’s team opens the regular season with a Preseason WNIT test against Jacksonville at 6 p.m. Check out the season schedule HERE.

For the first time, the women’s team is ranked in the preseason WBCA/USA Today Coaches Poll at No. 19. The Bulls are ranked as highly as No. 15 in the Sporting News preseason poll and were voted second in the preseason American Conference Coaches Poll. USF has also appeared in preseason top 25 polls by CollegeSportsMadness.com (No. 18), Lindy’s Sports (No. 22), ESPN (No. 21) and Athlon (No. 23).

As always, it’s a priority for USF Athletics to provide the best game day experience possible and we can’t wait for fans to see all of the cutting-edge improvements at the Sun Dome this season.

Looking back, the experience at the Sun Dome during the first two rounds of the NCAA women’s tournament last season was second to none. With your help, we can give both Bulls teams the best home court advantage in the country this season.

Football Ready to Finish Strong

The Football team, after winning three of the last four games, begins the “fourth quarter” of its season this Saturday night. All the work and effort that has been extended on the practice fields and weight room has allowed for November games that have true meaning.

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As we all know, there is so much to play for and each minute of every contest will be critical as we make this final push.  It all starts versus a solid East Carolina team in front of their loyal and loud fans. Our team is ready and anxious to hit the road to take advantage of the opportunity. We also know that behind this game, there awaits two great home games and our rival in Orlando that will be pivotal.

You as fans are challenged to be there, be loud and help this team finish strong.  I promise you that they heard you at the Syracuse and SMU games and you cheering your team truly makes a difference. Getting where we all want to be takes a collective effort from the entire USF family and what an opportunity we all have to this month to work together and UNITE. We ALL can’t wait.

Military Appreciation Game vs. Temple

After you get your basketball fix on Nov. 13, join us at Ray Jay on Saturday, Nov. 14 to watch the Bulls take on Temple. The game time will be announced shortly, but fans can already start participating in a special program for this military appreciation game.

This is our third year conducting the Seats For Soldiers program, which provides donated tickets to active and retired members of the Armed Forces. Tickets will be distributed to organizations that include MacDill Air Force Base, the Wounded Warrior Project, Veteran Tickets Foundation and the USF Student Veterans Association. 

If you're interested in donating tickets to the cause, please contact John Lewis at 813-974-7492 or by email at JohnL@usf.edu.

After Temple, it will be time to honor our outstanding group of seniors before the nationally televised home game against Cincinnati on Friday, Nov. 20 at 8 p.m.

Soccer Teams Eye Conference Titles

Congrats to Coach Schilte-Brown’s 25th-ranked women’s soccer team on punching its ticket to the American Athletic Conference Championship semifinals with a shootout over Memphis on Tuesday.

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The second-seeded Bulls will compete with UCF on Thursday at 8:30 p.m. for a spot in the championship that takes place Sunday at 2 p.m. in Dallas. Coach Schilte-Brown’s squad did a tremendous job going undefeated at home this season and the 14-3-2 Bulls are just one ‘W’ away from tying the single-season school record!

Good luck to Coach Kiefer’s 14th-ranked men’s team that hosts Memphis 7 p.m. Saturday in the American Athletic Conference quarterfinals. The second-seeded Bulls could have home field advantage throughout the conference tournament because we have the honor of hosting the semifinals and championship rounds next Friday and Sunday at Corbett Stadium. Come out and support the Bulls during a special postseason for USF Athletics. Get ticket information HERE.

Cross Country Fares Well at Conference

Congrats to seniors Michael Babinec and Leandra Munson, and junior Catherine Blaney on a job well done at the American Athletic Conference Championship last weekend in North Carolina.

This talented trio became the first Bulls to earn all-conference cross country honors in 11 years after placing in the top 15. Good luck to the team as it competes at the NCAA South Regional next Friday in Tuscaloosa.

Great Volleyball Support at Sun Dome

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Coach Draper’s volleyball team always gets incredible support at The Corral and the Bulls also have gotten a first-class following at the big venue next door.

Thousands watched the Bulls take on Auburn and top-ranked Penn State at the Sun Dome in September. USF had another outstanding crowd on hand at the Sun Dome on Wednesday night for the conference showdown with UCF. The roar in the building was monumental, thanks in large part to our amazing marching band. A special shout-out goes to the entire Herd of Thunder for showing up to the match after practicing on a hot November night in Tampa. Your school pride, dedication and talent add so much magic to important moments for this university. 

Thank you to everyone who helped make each match at the Sun Dome electric this season!

Title-Winning Cid Headed to Nationals

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Roberto Cid became the men’s tennis program’s first All-American two seasons ago and the senior continues to achieve excellence on the courts.

Cid is headed to New York next week to compete in the 2015 USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships after winning it all at the ITA Southeast Regional in Gainesville. Go get ’em, Roberto!

 

Baseball Reels In Consensus Top-10 Class

Coach Kingston’s baseball team took a huge leap forward last season by booking the program’s first NCAA tournament trip in 13 years and the Bulls continue to make steady progress on the national scene.

Congrats to Coach Kingston and his assistants, Mike Current and Billy Mohl, on bringing home a consensus top-10 recruiting class. It was amazing to see this year’s class ranked as highly as No. 6 by Perfect Game, followed by D1Baseball.com (No. 7), Baseball America (No. 8) and Collegiate Baseball (No. 9).

Coach Eriksen Gets Call From Hall

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We’re been honored to have Coach Eriksen leading our softball program since 1997 and his tireless work continues to be recognized nationwide.

Coach Eriksen was recently named to the 2016 National Softball Hall of Fame class for being an outstanding ambassador of the sport. Ken has won 818 games as our head coach (wow!) in addition to leading our young ladies to 11 NCAA Regionals and the program’s first Women’s College World Series trip in 2012. On top of all that, Ken has been the USA Softball Women’s National Team head coach since 2011 and he’s the first male to represent the organization as both a player and a head coach.

USF Joins the Fight Against Human Trafficking

I’m proud to announce that USF has joined the fight against an issue that affects 27 million people globally – human trafficking.

The National Consortium for Academics and Sports (NCAS) and the U.S. Fund for UNICEF’s End Trafficking Project have created a Shut Out Trafficking program to raise awareness. USF is one of 10 universities nationwide that will be using sports as a platform to help inform people about the issue through survivors of human trafficking, discussion groups, film screenings and much more.

The kickoff event on our campus takes place Tuesday, Nov. 17 from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Patel Center Auditorium with keynote speakers and a film entitled “Not My Life.” The Marshall Center Bull Market will host an Awareness and Fairtrade Giveaway event on Wednesday, Nov. 18.

Prior to the men’s basketball home game against George Washington on Thursday, Nov. 19, fans can donate items to the Florida Dream Center to help victims. Acceptable donation items include shampoo, conditioner, body wash, deodorant, lotions, razors for men and women, toothbrushes, toothpaste, toilet paper, paper towels and laundry detergent.

The important week of awareness will conclude at the Bulls Zone tailgate area prior to the football game against Cincinnati on Friday, Nov. 20 at Raymond James Stadium. We hope you can join us at some of these events to support an incredible cause.

Thank you for reading, and here's a reminder of how you can always help USF Athletics:

1. Be a season tickets holder;

2. Join the Bulls Club;

3. Wear the Green and Gold!

Go Bulls!

- Mark Harlan, Director of Athletics

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