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Bull shooters

What first started as a joke between Jose Fernandez and Lelo Prado has become a popular segment on 1010 AM.

Fernandez and Prado are the stars of Shooting the Bull, a one-hour show that airs from 5-6 p.m. every Wednesday, co-hosted by the SportsChix.

Fernandez and Prado instantly became friends when Prado moved back to Tampa to take over the baseball program. Prado grew up in Tampa and is familiar with the area, while Fernandez has been the head coach of the women’s basketball program for seven years.

“We have a good friendship, when (Prado) got back here we just hit it off right away,” Fernandez said. “And it’s just a fun show, two ugly Cuban guys and three good-looking women on the air.”

Fernandez and Prado look at the show as an opportunity to hang out and promote USF athletics. Along with the rise of the football program, Fernandez has the women’s program looking for its second NCAA berth and the baseball team is off to a quick start under Prado’s watchful eye.

“We are having a good time with the show and we are promoting USF, so that’s the most important thing,” Prado said. “Any time we get a chance to promote USF, we have to do it.”

Fernandez, who is a native of Miami, has built the women’s program from the ground up after taking over a 4-24 program. Despite recent successes, Fernandez is still struggling to get fans into the Sun Dome to watch his talented squad.

This program is a way for Fernandez to reach out to the Tampa community for support of the women’s program. Sports talk radio can give USF the exposure needed to pack the Sun Dome when the likes of Connecticut and LSU make the trip to Tampa.

“It takes time to promote and build a successful program,” Fernandez said. “We have an hour to promote women’s basketball and baseball and have a fun time with it.”

The women’s program took a step in the right direction this season, setting the Sun Dome record for a women’s basketball game. The Bulls had 5,241 fans in attendance against the Huskies on Feb. 20.

In his short time as head coach, Prado has brought about drastic changes to the baseball team. He’s worked on additions to the baseball field and has brought in players like Walter Diaz, Danny Otero and Charles Cleveland that play his style of baseball.

Prado’s style is small ball, which is known for speed on the base paths, timely hitting and precise bunting. Diaz brings the speed, Cleveland handles the bat well at the plate and Otero is the ace of the pitching staff.

Even with the team’s early success, Prado never misses an opportunity to promote USF baseball.

“The exposure is huge and we have to go out to the community because they aren’t going to come to us,” Prado said. “We have to promote to be successful and hopefully we continue to win because if we continue to win, we will be OK.”

Prado is no stranger to success, capturing two Division II championships at the University of Tampa during his 18 seasons as head coach. In 11 seasons with Louisville, Prado became the all-time winningest coach with 320 victories.

The friendship between Fernandez and Prado began while Fernandez was an assistant coach at Barry University. Prado enjoys having a friend in the same profession that can relate to the stresses that come with coaching a college program.

“Both of us like the same things and like to have a good time away from the court or the field,” Prado said. “Any time we get a chance to go and hang out, we do. He’s just a great friend to have.”

The SportsChix, comprised of Lynne Austin, B.L. and Heather Young, have enjoyed the time spent on the show with Prado and Fernandez. Young was skeptical about doing a coaches’ show, but is having fun working with both men.

“I got to meet them and their personality, and our personality is exactly the same,” Young said. “So after I got to meet them, I knew this was going to be a success.”