Osterman promoted to associate head coach

Jeff Osterman has inched closer to his first NCAA head coaching job with his promotion to associate head coach.

Women’s basketball coach Jose Fernandez announced Osterman was promoted from assistant coach/recruiting coordinator to become the first associate head coach since Harry Elifson in 2005-2006.

Osterman is just one of the associate head coaches in the Big East Conference.

“It means a lot in our business because there’s not many (associate head coaches),” Osterman said. “For me, it’s the next step in a basketball program that’s in the best basketball conference in the country.”

As one of the top recruiters in the program’s 35-year history, Osterman has been responsible for securing the two best recruiting classes even though he’s been at USF for just three seasons.

The Bulls’ incoming recruiting class has been ranked No. 15 in the nation by the Collegiate Girls Basketball Report and is the top class in USF history.

California transfer Jessica Lawson and Miami transfer Brittany Denson join Ashley Sanders, Jazmine Sepulveda, Sequoyah Griffin and Lonnie Terrell in an effort to return USF to the NCAA Tournament.

Fernandez realizes the impact Osterman has made in his brief stint at USF.

“Jeff has brought a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience to our program,” Fernandez said. “He has not just made an impact on the playing floor, coaching and teaching our kids, but off the floor as well (by) recruiting and helping to make our program one of the best in the Big East. We are extremely fortunate to have him on our staff.”

Osterman becomes the second active associate head coach, as football coach Jim Leavitt promoted defensive coordinator Wally Burnham to the same position earlier in the year.

The new position has given Osterman an additional boost heading into next season.”I’m using this promotion as motivation to get back to the NCAA (Tournament),” Osterman said. “For me, my primary role, of course, is recruiting, and doing that in the Big East is a special challenge for me.”

Although Osterman hasn’t been a head coach since leaving Central Florida Community College in 2002, he hopes this promotion could be used as a stepping-stone to a head coaching job at a Division I school in the upcoming years.

“Hopefully someday in the future it will open some doors for me,” Osterman said. “If someone comes knocking for me down the road, I’d listen, but it would have to be a pretty good knock.”