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USF Names Lelo Prado Head Baseball Coach

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Courtesy USF SID Office

USF Names Lelo Prado Head Baseball Coach

TAMPA, FLA. (June 16, 2006) Lelo Prado, a native of Cuba who grew up in Tampa before embarking on an ultra-successful college coaching career that includes back-to-back NCAA Division II National Championships in his hometown, returns home today as the new head coach at the University of South Florida, USF director of athletics Doug Woolard announced. Prado signed a five-year contract through July 1, 2011 with an annual salary of $95,000.

Prado, in turn, announced his first hire. Former New York Yankee and Tampa Bay Devil Ray Tino Martinez, who played at Tampa while Prado was an assistant coach there, will be the Bulls’ volunteer assistant coach. Martinez also played for Seattle and St. Louis in his 16-year MLB career.

“Lelo Prado is the absolute perfect fit for USF Baseball,” said Woolard. “We couldn’t be more pleased to bring home a local hero with such a strong track record of success. We were looking for the absolute best candidate who would offer the strongest partnership with our baseball student-athletes, and there is none better than Coach Prado.”

Prado, 43, joins USF from the University of Louisville, where in 11 seasons he became that school’s all-time winningest coach with 320 victories. In 18 seasons as a head coach, including seven at Tampa and 11 at Louisville, Prado is 598-425-2 with his two national championships (1992, 1993), eight NCAA appearances and three Division II World Series appearances. At Louisville, he took the program to its first-ever NCAA appearance in 2003 and he was the 2002 Conference USA Coach of the Year, the same year he won USA Baseball Coach of the Year.

In his seven seasons at Tampa, Prado compiled a 278-124-1 record and took all seven teams to nothing short of the NCAA South Region Finals. He was named the ABCA National Coach of the Year in 1992 and 1993, and he was the South Region Coach of the Year in 1990, 1992 and 1993. He also won Conference Coach of the Year in 1989, 1990

and 1995 and was inducted into the Sunshine State Conference Hall of Fame in 1995. His number “1” jersey is retired at Tampa, but he will return to the number as head coach at USF.

His success in Tampa predates his days as the Spartans head coach. As a sophomore catcher at Tampa Catholic High School, he helped the Crusaders to a state title. In his senior season of 1981, Prado hit .504 en route to all-Hillsborough County honors.

He went on to play two seasons at Hillsborough Community College (HCC) in Tampa before a two-year playing career at the University of Tampa, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in adult fitness in 1985. He worked the 1985 Fall as an assistant at HCC before he re-joined Tampa as an assistant from 1986-88 prior to being named head coach.

His accomplishments extend to the USA National Team, where he was the head coach in 2002 and an assistant in 2000. Additionally, he was a member of the USA Baseball Selection Committee from 1995-98, including the 1996 Olympic Team Selection Committee.

Prado and his wife, Pam, have three sons, Jason, Tyler and Zach.



Year                Record                                    Postseason

1989                37-18-1                                   NCAA South Region Finalist

1990                45-14                                       3rd NCAA Division II World Series

1991                34-17                                       NCAA South Region Finalist

1992                42-19                                       NCAA National Champion

1993                43-21                                       NCAA National Champion

1994                36-18                                       NCAA South Region Finalist

1995                41-17                                       NCAA South Region Finalist


Year                Record                                    Postseason

1996                18-36

1997                23-32

1998                31-24

1999                37-19

2000                17-37-1

2001                32-29

2002                39-18                                       NCAA Regional

2003                34-23

2004                26-30

2005                32-24

2006                31-29

18-YEAR TOTAL:     598-425-2        

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$95k.... huge pay raise compared to EC salary this past season.

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