Kelly dismisses track and field/cross country coaching staff

By Brian Hattab, Sports Editor
On June 5, 2019

Michael Kelly made his first coaching change since becoming USF vice president of athletics when he dismissed the entire track and field/cross country coaching staff Wednesday. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE/GOUSFBULLS

During his introductory press conference in June 2018, Vice President of Athletics Michael Kelly said something that has since become incredibly popular among USF fans.

“If we’re gonna keep score, we may as well win.”

The phrase has appeared on T-shirts and been shared on Twitter many times.

The first tangible implementation of that mentality came Wednesday when Kelly dismissed the entire track and field and cross country coaching staff, including track and field head coach Warren Bye and cross country head coach Dena Reif.

Bye had been in charge of track and field since 2008, while Reif had been the head coach of cross country since 2012 after being a track and field assistant under Bye for several years prior.

“We have high expectations for all our sports programs and I believe now is the time for a new direction in our track and field and cross country programs,” Kelly said in a statement. “On behalf of our university, I want to wish Coach Bye and his staff all the best in their future endeavors.”

Kelly added that a national search for a new coach will begin immediately.

While there had been success on an individual level, including 22 All-Americans since 2008 and having eight athletes qualify for the NCAA East Preliminary in 2019, the overall team had been one of USF’s lowest-performing program for years.

During the 2018-19 track and field seasons, the men placed seventh (out of eight) in both the AAC indoor and outdoor championships, while the women finished 12th (out of 12) in both.

Cross country’s highest results in 2018 were third (men) and fourth (women) place finishes in the UNF Invitational in September, however only five teams participated in that invitational. The teams both placed last in the AAC championships in November.

USF’s last — and only — second-place finish in a track and field conference championship under Bye came in 2012, when the men placed second in the Big East outdoor championship, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Adding insult to the injury of such a poor-performing program was its large contribution to USF’s embarrassing performance in the all-sport War on I-4 trophy competition with UCF.

USF has not claimed a single point in either track and field or cross country since the trophy's inception prior to the 2016-17 season — a combined 12 points each year — which has aided in blowout victories by the Knights all three years, including a 70-14 win in 2018-19.

5 former Bulls to play in Women’s World Cup

USF women’s soccer is set to have a large presence on the world stage.

Five former Bulls are set to play for four national teams when the Women’s World Cup gets underway Friday in France.

Olivia Chance (New Zealand), Christiane Endler (Chille), Demi Stokes (England), Trudi Carter (Jamaica) and Nicole McClure (Jamaica) will represent their countries, with the first former Bulls making their debuts in the group stage of the tournament when Jamaica plays Brazil on Sunday at 9:30 a.m.

“Having these strong women representing the legacy of USF’s impactful people and player fills us with incredible pride,” coach Denise Schilte-Brown told GoUSFBulls.com

The five former Bulls played for Schilte-Brown between 2010 and 2016, with Carter being the most recent USF player, earning second-team all-conference honors in 2016.

Chance totaled 83 points during her time at USF, earning a spot on the Big East All-Rookie Team in 2012 after scoring three game-winning goals.

Endler recorded nine shutouts during her freshman season of 2012 and was named Big East Goalkeeper of the Week twice.

Stokes, now a top defender for England, was an offensive threat during her time at USF, scoring 17 goals and going a perfect 4-of-4 from the penalty spot during her senior season.

Carter scored seven goals over two seasons at USF, good for third on the team in 2015 and fifth in 2016.

McClure recorded 11 shutouts over her two years at USF, but the biggest saves of her career came during the CONCACAF Women’s Championship third-place game last year when she made two penalty-kick saves to send Jamaica to its first ever Women’s World Cup.

Women’s World Cup games can be seen on either FS1 or Fox. Exact match date, times and networks can be found on FIFA's website.

3 Bulls taken in MLB Draft

Three USF baseball players were taken in this week’s MLB Draft.

Senior first baseman Joe Genord was drafted by the New York Mets in the ninth round Tuesday, while junior closer Nelson Alvarez was selected by the New York Yankees in the 13th round and senior pitcher Alec Wisley by the Cleveland Indians in the 34th round Wednesday.

With the three selections, 2019 marks the fifth straight season that USF has had multiple players selected in the MLB Draft. Last year, USF had four players drafted, including pitcher Shane McClanahan with the 31st pick.

USF also has had at least one player selected in the MLB Draft for 20 straight seasons, dating back to 2000.

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