The players who comprise USF football’s 2004 recruiting class are coming to this university for the women. At least that is what USF graduate student Kimberly Hannah and the organization for which she serves as adviser hopes is the case.
This year, eight recruiting hostesses led by Hannah, known as the Golden Belles, have volunteered time to try and help the Bulls herd in top football recruits. What the Belles add to the process of recruiting high school prospects to USF is an understanding of student life, as well as a feminine touch.
“Obviously, all on the coaching staff are men. We’re basically good at talking to the moms and giving them an actual perspective of a person who goes to school here,” Hannah said. “It’s kind of like a liaison between the school and the recruit because we can answer the student questions that the coaches don’t have answers to.”
Hannah was a member of a similar hostess organization as an undergraduate at FSU, where she helped the Seminoles snag some of the best recruiting classes in the nation.
When she came to USF for graduate school, Hannah created the Golden Belles organization. Before this year, recruiting visits at USF were unorganized and left up to the coaches.
Hannah said the women volunteer for many reasons, but money is not one of them.
“We provide them with a uniform, but other than that they don’t get paid at all,” Hannah said.
“You have to have a love of football. Some people that do it were cheerleaders in high school or part of a spirit club. So it’s a way for them to be involved (at USF).”
Between heavy recruiting weekends and Tuesday-night meetings, the Belles have been busy recently. Payback comes in the fall.
“My biggest reward is to see which of my recruits sign, and then in the fall when they come here and start to play it’s like, ‘Oh, there’s my recruit. He just made that tackle,'” Hannah said. “You feel like you play a part in their coming to the school and that’s your reward.”
She said it helps the recruiting process when the hostesses get to know the players on a personal level.
“When they come back in the spring for their official visit, they recognize us and know who we are from the game because we made the special effort to talk to them and get to know them,” Hannah said.
“Obviously when players remember you that’s always a way to show that we make a difference because that is one thing they brought back from their trip.”
Currently the Golden Belles are accepting applications. Girls who are interested should contact Hannah at USFGoldenBelles@hotmail.com.