Boosters: Report on McCullum false

The Web site for Sports Illustrated magazine,, published an article Monday stating that a member of an anonymous USF athletic booster club said the club is interested in buying out the remaining three years of men’s basketball coach Robert McCullum’s contract and replacing the third-year coach, who is 27-57 in his tenure at USF, with former Cincinnati coach Bob Huggins.

However, anonymous sources close to USF athletic boosters have disparaged the SI article, as well as a story in the Tampa Tribune stating that “a group of prominent boosters” is interested in doing the same.

SI’s Seth Davis cited an unnamed booster in his article who said “supporters of the program” have been in contact with Huggins’ Cincinnati attorney Richard Katz. According to the SI article, Katz said Huggins “would be interested in the Bulls coaching job if it opened up.”

However, one group, the Iron Bulls, which is a booster club that donates more than $10,000 to athletics each year, has sided with McCullum, not the reports produced just days before the men’s basketball team – only two losses away from going winless in the Big East – hosts No. 2 Connecticut.

“Robert McCullum is a man of character,” said Buddy Johnson, chairman of the Iron Bulls. “He’s a proven winner (at places such as) Florida and Western Michigan. Any coach that takes a team that’s pretty much been decimated with injuries and nearly knocks off three of four Top-20 teams has done a good job. If he is given an additional year to get some more players, I’m confident he’ll continue to do the great job that he is already doing.

“There has not been any discussion (of a contract buyout) among my friends at the Iron Bulls,” Johnson said. “I’m a strong supporter (of McCullum). I think he’s done a great job.”

Buying out McCullum’s contract would cost more than $850,000, and both McCullum and Athletic Director Doug Woolard have declined to comment on such reports, as Woolard continues to stick by his policy of not commenting on coaches who are in the midst of a season, winning or losing.