Say hi to Bye

Baseball isn’t the only sport that will be under the leadership of a new head coach next season.

Former USF assistant and interim coach Warren Bye will take over as the coach of the cross country and track and field teams for both men and women.

After assisting former coach Greg Thiel last season in USF’s first year in the Big East, Bye has high expectations for the 2006-07 season.

“When (the athletes) come to the track for meets, they’re going to come out and leave everything out there that they have,” Bye said. “I want alumni, fans and administration to see those guys are working hard and looking to get there.”

Bye hopes to build from the team’s experience last season and, with a healthy roster, has a positive outlook on next season.

“We had some injuries last year and I’m not here to make excuses,” Bye said. “But if we have everyone healthy, we can turn things around quickly.”

Entering his third year at USF, Bye has a strong relationship with the returning athletes.

“I’m close to all the kids,” Bye said. “They know my expectations, and those that don’t will know what my expectations are.”

Bye feels he has a talented recruiting class coming in next season, but said it’s crucial for the new athletes to make the adjustment from high school to college.

“You always recruit (freshmen) out of high school with great marks, but you have a lot of factors that go into that,” Bye said. “It’s going to depend on how they adapt. They’re coming in and they’re going to be away from mom and dad.

“They’re going to be on their own, and they have choices to make. We expect them to make the right choices with school and training and rest. I think it’s going to be good, but they have to set their priorities straight.”

Track season is more than a semester away, but Bye doesn’t have much time to put together a coaching staff before cross country starts this fall.

Don Marsh is the only assistant returning next season. Bye lost distance coach and cross country assistant Todd Morgan, who took a job at the University of Florida last week. Throwers coach Dayana Octavien went to London to train for the Olympic trials.

“Coach Marsh and I have a very good working relationship,” Bye said. “We’re going to get some other quality coaches in here, as well, and have that same insight of what we’re doing, (which is to) ultimately win a Big East title and be in the top 25 in the country.”

After the men’s and women’s cross country teams finished in a disappointing 12th and 10th place, respectively, in the Big East Cross Country Championship last season, Bye knows it will be another tough year in an elite conference.

“Cross country is going to be a challenge,” Bye said. “In the Big East, we probably have four or five teams that will be in the top 15 in the country. The Big East is one of the best cross country conferences in the country, so it will be challenging.”