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Gregory fired by Leavitt

University of South Florida coach Jim Leavitt fired offensive coordinator Greg Gregory late Saturday night.

Gregory, who was promoted to the position two years ago, became the first assistant coach to be fired by Leavitt in program history.

“Greg is an outstanding coach and I appreciate everything he has done for us,” Leavitt said in a statement. “It is time for our program to move in a different direction.”

Gregory led the USF offense to a 41-14 rout of Memphis in the Magic Jack St. Petersburg Bowl on Dec. 20 in Leavitt’s hometown.

He was scrutinized this past fall for the drop-off in offensive production between 2007 and 2008.

In 2007, the Bulls set nine school records, but in 2008 the Bulls averaged seven fewer points per game.

His departure four weeks after the season’s end and three weeks before national signing day could mean the loss of several of Gregory’s recruits.

A replacement search will begin immediately, and a favorite to land the job is USF assistant Mike Canales, the receivers coach and passing game coordinator.

When USF names its next offensive coordinator, it will be the fourth in six seasons.

The Bulls return key components of last fall’s offense, including quarterback Matt Grothe, running backs Mike Ford and Jamar Taylor and wide receivers Dontavia Bogan and A.J. Love.