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Bulls Bulletin: April Edition


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Red-Hot Softball Team #MereBearStrong

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Congrats to Coach Eriksen’s 22nd-ranked team on setting a new school record with a 23-game winning streak that began in early March and carried all the way over to conference play this month.

This amazing accomplishment surpassed the 2012 Women’s College World Series team’s previous record of 19 games. Win No. 23 secured the conference-opening series against Houston and it served as the nation’s longest active streak at the time.

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Coach Eriksen's Bulls are doing an amazing job supporting teammate Meredith Bissette, who recently was diagnosed with cancer and is getting treatment in Boston. Stay strong like we know you will, Meredith, because USF Nation is behind you every step of the way. Thank you to everyone who continues to support Meredith on social media using the hashtag #MereBearStrong, including other outstanding programs all over the country. 

Fans can help in another big way by supporting Meredith's treatment with a donation at www.gofundme.com/merebearstrong. Anyone wishing to donate more than $500 is encouraged to contact Coach Eriksen directly at Eriksen@usf.edu. Join us Sunday, May 8 for the Bissette family fundraiser that will take place at 4:30 p.m. after the baseball game. Learn more about courageous Meredith and her fundraising events HERE.

Check out the remaining schedule HERE and enjoy watching the Bulls chase more greatness.

Bulls in the Community

It’s so important for USF Athletics to be an active member of the community and all of our teams served as great role models for local Bay Area youth this month.

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More than 150 kids from six area Boys and Girls Clubs got to walk in student-athletes' shoes during "A Day in Green and Gold" on campus. Student-athletes, coaches, administrators and staff members all came together to show kids how the Bulls prepare for games in the gym and training room before everyone headed to Corbett Stadium for exciting soccer games. Each participant was introduced over the loudspeakers by Voice of the Bulls Jim Louk as they entered. Afterward the entire group enjoyed a nice meal before returning to the Boys and Girls Clubs.  Learn more about "A Day in Green and Gold" activities and experiences with USF Athletics HERE.

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Our entire men’s soccer team strengthened our bond with the Freddie Solomon Boys and Girls Club. Players and coaches enjoyed an afternoon of field day events with kids, playing kickball, basketball and other events under the sun. Members of the women’s soccer team and track and field program joined in the fun by making another trip to the Boys and Girls Clubs later in the month.

Coach Taggart’s football team was out in full force at five different schools in the Bay Area on March 10, visiting with students at Riverhills Elementary, Kimbell Elementary and Sligh Middle Magnet School in Tampa, along with Pizzo Elementary here on campus.

Community efforts continue this month with teams participating in various events with Paralympic Sports of Tampa Bay at All People’s Life Center. Our student-athletes also will continue to serve as positive influences for our youth at the G3 Be More Program in Tampa on Saturdays. 

USF Athletics is on track to log more community service hours than ever recorded. I am so proud of the outreach program and our student-athletes and staff, who understand how necessary these programs are to the communities that surround and support USF.

Spring Game Celebration

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Thank you to everyone who came to campus to support the program during the annual spring football game on campus last Saturday.

This was the third straight year the game took place at Corbett Stadium, our beautiful soccer venue on campus. Nearly 5,000 fans watched quarterback Quinton Flowers and the White team down the Green team, 32-19, in a great game that showed the Bulls continue to progress after their Miami Beach Bowl appearance. Check out the spring game recap HERE.

USF Athletics is driven to give fans the best game day experience possible and this year featured some fun, new additions to the spring game. USF Elm Drive was filled with people before the game for the Bulls Block Party and the team had a great team interacting with fans during the postgame concert by The Daniel Sprouse Band right outside Corbett Stadium.

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We were honored to have the biggest turnout yet for our alumni flag football game that showed our former Bulls still have a lot of game. They might have been a little sore heading to work Monday morning, but our former players will tell you it was way worth it.

Our alumni flag football game capped off a highly attended alumni weekend. Coach Taggart's staff did a fantastic job coordinating last Friday's alumni events at Westin Tampa Harbour Island and Ferg’s Live. Like Coach Taggart said, these former players helped build this program and we're always happy to see them back on campus as much as possible. Click HERE for a full recap of alumni weekend.

Fans Excited for 2016 Football Season

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Momentum is building at a rapid pace for our football program after its incredible run to the Miami Beach Bowl.

Our fan base played a tremendous role in helping the Bulls get back to the postseason and USF Nation continues to get stronger. I’m proud to announce that 86 percent of our season ticket accounts were renewed before the April 1 priority deadline with more than 1,000 new deposits or added seats.

Your dedication to our football program is so important because the investment here carries forward to our program all together. We really appreciate the folks that are back onboard, including Tampa’s Kristin Johnson, who has had season tickets for more than a decade and showed her dedication to our students by upgrading her Bulls Club gift.

The outpouring of support has even carried over to social media. Coach Taggart and I have enjoyed interacting with passionate fans that are proud to let us know about their season ticket renewals and added seats for 2016. 

This is an exciting time for the program and loyal supporters like you are providing a bright future for USF. We’re going to reach new heights together.

 

 

Baseball Continues to Battle On

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Coach Kingston’s team has shown a great amount of resiliency this season, fighting through an extraordinary amount of injuries, many of which have been season-ending. Nonetheless, the Bulls set a new program best with six consecutive series wins to open the season and they continue to march on as conference play heats up.

Like our softball team, this group gives it their all every time out and that will continue this weekend with an away series at Houston. USF recently fought the good fight during the Vs. Cancer Game at USF Baseball Stadium on April 10.

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The Bulls raised more than $11,000 for the Vs. Cancer Foundation and TGC while shaving their heads for the second consecutive year to support the cause. Fans also got haircuts by Great Clips representatives for just a $5 donation. This team did a great job standing up for an important cause the past two years by raising more than $27,000. A shout-out goes to my son, Austin, who also joined in "to fight back."

USF has three more conference series to play at home this season and fans can view the remaining schedule HERE.

Women’s Hoops Team Special On and Off the Court

What an amazing season it was for Coach Fernandez’s record-breaking Bulls. This group was ranked in the top 25 all season for the first time in program history, winning 20-plus games for the fourth consecutive time with a return trip to the NCAA tournament.

At historic Pauley Pavilion, the Bulls reached the second round for the second straight season with a hard fought first-round win over Colorado State, a top-25 team that had lost just one game all year.

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This season’s group was truly special and it showed hours after the season finale on the flight home from L.A. The entire team was graciously thanking each member of the school band that brought the Green and Gold spirit all the way to the West Coast. Courtney Williams captured the moment well by taking a selfie with just about everyone on the plane.

Now each band member has a nice reminder of a joyous moment with a pro Bull. Congrats to Courtney on being selected eighth overall by the Phoenix Mercury in the WNBA Draft. Courtney made program history by becoming the first Bull to be picked in the first round and her teammate will join her in the WNBA. Congrats to record-breaking rebounder Alisia Jenkins on recently signing with the New York Liberty. Read the release HERE. We can't wait to watch you both at the next level!

The Road Forward for Men's Basketball

After the end of the men's basketball season, I sat down with Coach Antigua to review the season and to discuss next steps, a process I do with all of our head coaches after their seasons are complete. 

Coach and I agreed that our men's basketball program must be more competitive, that we must show progress in player development and in the number of wins. Men's basketball can be an elite program at USF and we will do all we can to support the staff and students to get there.  Over the past month, our roster has undergone some changes which I wholeheartedly support.  It is always difficult when a student moves on, but we will have a program full of students who add to our community on the court and off and who understand that we hold everyone accountable. As we look ahead to 2016/17, we have a core of returning players who will be complemented by an exciting incoming class. The offseason practices and conditioning workouts have already begun with the intensity already at a high level.  

No one wants to win and have success at USF more than Coach Antigua and me, and we both thank all of you who have continued to support Coach and the program. Together, we will achieve success.  

Former Student-Athletes Thriving in Medical Field

Those of us who are around the Selmon Athletics Center every day see student-athletes that are truly students first. Bulls fill the Student-Athlete Enrichment Center and even study in the halls in an effort to achieve excellence in the classroom.

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I take great enjoyment seeing USF success stories continue on after their athletic careers and a great example took place last month during USF Health Morsani College of Medicine Match Day downtown. Soon-to-be doctors Monique Konstantinovic-Koscso (track and field), Jon Koscso (baseball) and Melissa Rosas (softball) and 169 other USF students were placed in residency spots at hospitals across the country and the locations were revealed at USF supporter Richard Gonzmart’s Ulele Restaurant. It was awesome to see our group get their top requested hospitals. Also, congrats to Monique and Jon on getting married this spring!

Learn about our Dr. Bulls and the USF’s unique Match Day event by reading Senior Writer Tom Zebold’s feature HERE.

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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