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New Tampa Trib Article

Guest Ari_Hinkelberger

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Guest Ari_Hinkelberger

This is the updated article the came over the wire about 20 mins ago.  It has a little twist.  Woolard refuses to comment and genshaft and company won't go on the record.

Vitale weighs in and supports mac.

Cleary Brett McMurphy knows something that is up.  He wouldn't just put this out there.  The guy has actually been a big defender of MAC in his blog.  Talked about the chances of mac leaving being remote.

The fact that woolard and genshaft are so hush hush -- smells funny


Bulls Boosters Working To Lure Huggins

By BRETT McMURPHY bmcmurphy@tampatrib.com

Published: Feb 28, 2006

TAMPA - A group of prominent University of South Florida boosters is committed to providing nearly $1 million to buy out the final three years of Coach Robert McCullum's contract in hopes of hiring former Cincinnati coach Bob Huggins, The Tampa Tribune has learned.

Sources told the Tribune that boosters have spoken with Richard Katz, Huggins' attorney, about Huggins coming to USF and there is a "mutual interest." The discussions have been going on for about a month.

"Certainly Coach Huggins is going to be looking to coach major college basketball," Katz said. "We're in the process of reviewing certain situations. That's all I can say at this time."

Katz said Monday he has not spoken with any university officials at USF.

McCullum, 27-57 overall and 6-40 in conference play in three years at USF, has three years remaining on the six-year contract he was given by former USF athletic director Lee Roy Selmon. If fired by USF, McCullum would be owed around $850,000-$900,000.

"I don't think it's fitting to respond to public sentiment," McCullum said. "That's the only comment I'm going to have. This is obviously the first I've heard about it."

USF AD Doug Woolard would not comment about Huggins. He also refused to assess McCullum's performance or the state of the basketball program, which is two losses from finishing with the worst record in school history and only the Big East's second winless season in league play in the past 25 years.

Woolard, who evaluates each of his coaches after the season, said he would evaluate McCullum "shortly" after the season finale Saturday against No. 20 Georgetown. USF President Judy Genshaft was unavailable for comment.

In their inaugural Big East season, the Bulls (6-21, 0-14 Big East) have lost a school-record 16 consecutive games, the nation's second-longest losing streak. Because of injuries and player dismissals by McCullum, USF is down to only seven healthy scholarship players.

"I'm disappointed with this season as I'm sure the coaching staff is," said Mike Charles, president of the school's booster club. "We've played with the cards we've been dealt."

Charles would not discuss Huggins.

Since most coaching openings occur in the next few weeks, USF's group of boosters realizes it has only a small window before other schools will go after Huggins.

While USF's boosters are prepared to financially fund a coaching change, which could include the promise of a new practice facility, the biggest hurdle may be Genshaft, who is a close friend of Cincinnati president Nancy Zimpher.

Huggins was dismissed as Cincinnati's coach in August 2005 when Zimpher refused to extend Huggins' four-year rollover in his contract after he was arrested for a DUI in Fairfax, Ohio, on June 7, 2004.

Huggins received a $3 million buyout from the school, but told ESPN.com in December that he has heard from intermediaries from various schools and wants to return to coaching in 2006-07. "Athletic directors are smart people, and I think they can figure out I can coach and recruit," Huggins told ESPN.com. "I won't go somewhere I don't believe in."

In 24 seasons as a head coach, Huggins was 567-199 (74 percent). In 16 seasons at Cincinnati, he was 399-127 (76 percent) and led UC to 14 consecutive NCAA Tournaments, including the 1992 Final Four. He also led UC to 10 regular-season conference titles and eight league tournament titles. He was named Conference USA's Coach of the Decade.

At UC, Huggins signed three No. 1-rated junior-college players, five McDonald's All-Americans and five future NBA first-round draft picks. Six of his final nine recruiting classes were ranked among the nation's top 10.

Huggins also is close with Cincinnati North College Hill High's OJ Mayo and Billy Walker, considered two of the nation's top junior recruits. Mayo - regarded as the next LeBron James - and Walker reportedly will sign wherever Huggins coaches next season.

When USF was seeking a replacement for Seth Greenberg in 2003, Huggins told The Tampa Tribune that he thought USF was an attractive position.

"It's got everything you need, a good city, good airport and good facility," Huggins said at the 2003 Final Four in New Orleans.

Huggins' critics point to UC's widely reported zero-percent graduation rate and players who were arrested. However, the Cincinnati Post reported the zero-percent rate in 1996-98 was because UC's only freshman, Kenyon Martin, went to the NBA and didn't graduate.

Through 2005, the newspaper also reported, 25 of Huggins' players earned degrees, but the school didn't receive credit in the NCAA graduation rates because some of the players were transfers or graduated after the NCAA's five-year window.

"We expect to recruit very strong students, both on the court and in the classroom," Zimpher said after Huggins' dismissal. "We expect our coaches to be role models, and we expect our students to be role models. I will not apologize for setting high standards."

Huggins said he has learned from his mistakes.

"Unlike what people think, I can wake up every day and look at myself in the mirror and be proud of what we have accomplished," Huggins told Hoop-rap.com in October. "I have made mistakes, but not because I didn't try and not because I didn't care."

ESPN's **** Vitale, who said he believes Huggins should be coaching somewhere next season, was livid about the USF boosters' involvement.

"It's very unfair and unethical for people to talk about replacing someone who is doing the toughest job in America," Vitale said Monday. "For programs that are struggling, until decisions are made, it will be rumors, rumors, rumors [about Huggins].

"USF is the toughest job in America for a coach in a major, major conference. To try and catch the people at UConn, Villanova, Syracuse, right down the line, that is an absolute battle. Football has a chance, but basketball will take a lot of work and a lot of commitment.

"They have a magical league to sell, but it's tough if you finish 13th, 14th, 15th or 16th on a regular basis and don't make the [big East] tournament. I feel for Robert. I know how hard a worker, how dedicated he is. People don't understand what a tough job that is."

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Guest Ari_Hinkelberger

my computer sucks at home.  wireless is really slow so sometimes I can't tell if it went through.

I erased it.

my fault.

what are they talking about with "a new practice facility."


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It is midnight, do you really think that either Genshaft or Woolard are just waiting around for Brett to call so they can comment on a coaching rumor?  Woolard is quoted as saying the same thing he's been saying for weeks, what is so ominous about that?

Quit obsessing and wait for facts to come out...

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yea...please dont make anything out of the fact that judy or doug won't comment.  

i'm sure as president of our university judy has more pressing matters than to comment on this rumored story that didnt break till after 5 pm and probably wasnt attempted to be reached until sometime after 8 pm.

they arent playing hush hush because something is up.

they are playing hush hush because they don't care right now.

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I like our odds becauwe Huggins is talking about how Tampa is a great city and he has previously showed interest in us.  Im telling you the guy will get off by bringing OJ Mayo in here and winning serious games.  He will be able to say I took USF from noone to someone like Coack K did with Duke, He did with UC (didnt hear about them since oscar robertson), John Thompson with GTown, Louie Carnseca with St. Johns, Boeheim with Cuse.  They guy knows he gonna be hall of fame but he wants to be in the top spot.  He is an ego guy and we need that.  There was a photo shoot with all the conference USA coaches a professor at USF was showing me where all the C_USA coaches were in polos and slacks, including Greenburg,  and Bobby Huggins was wearing a tuxedo.  We were dying laughing making fun of GBurg and how awesome it would be to have a guy like Huggins.  The guy is money.  

Do whatever it takes to get him

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Woolard would not comment - Genshaft was unavailbale,  He could have said something.  

USF AD Doug Woolard would not comment about Huggins. He also refused to assess McCullum's performance or the state of the basketball program, which is two losses from finishing with the worst record in school history and only the Big East's second winless season in league play in the past 25 years.

Woolard, who evaluates each of his coaches after the season, said he would evaluate McCullum "shortly" after the season finale Saturday against No. 20 Georgetown. USF President Judy Genshaft was unavailable for comment.


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it is just Doug's policy to wait until the season is over before any announcements or choices are made.

its a great policy.  it is only fair to the coaching staff, players, and even the fans.

the fact that he is still saying that some evaluation is needed shows that anything can happen but everyone just needs to wait and see.

id say its about 80/20 that we see CRM back next year.  i , for one, hope he does come back.

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