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Holtz indifferent to realignment talk

USF coach Skip Holtz says he has no real concern over what might happen in the Big East despite speculation that the conference may either expand or dissolve.

“I’m not sitting here trying to evaluate the worst thing that could happen,” said Holtz, who is in his first season at USF.

Most of the heavy speculation on the Big East’s future has seemingly subsided now that the Big 12 appears to be intact, which didn’t seem likely last week when Texas and other Big 12 schools were thought to be on the verge of joining the Pac 10.

“You get into all that and it’s a lot of speculation,” Holtz said. “The real deal right now is that you can control what you can control.”

The Big East still could lose schools if the Big Ten decides it wants to continue to enhance its revenue by expanding. Nebraska accepted an invitation to the Big Ten earlier this month, and the conference has been previously rumored to have interest in adding some Big East schools – notably Rutgers and Syracuse – to bolster its academic prestige and conference revenue.

Holtz said despite the fact that USF has room for improvement in terms of wins and losses, it remains one of the more attractive schools in the Big East, citing the growth in the conference, the Tampa Bay area as a national football market and Raymond James Stadium, where the Bulls play their home games.

“USF is very attractive,” Holtz said. “I hope USF (ends up) in a good, competitive conference.”

Holtz said there’s “probably a lot more” speculation coming on conference realignment, though getting ready for fall practice is in the front of his mind.

“We have to continue to take care of our business,” he said. “(The coaching staff) is trying to keep our nose to the grindstone and have a great first year at USF.”

Search for new golf coach

USF is beginning its search for a new golf coach after former coach Jim Fee took a job as USF director of athletics events and championships on Thursday.

Fee, who had coached the Bulls since 1996, replaced Tom Buscemi, who resigned to pursue job opportunities in Colorado.

“Jim has been considering a transition into athletics administration for some time, and I’m delighted that he chose this opportunity,” USF athletic director Doug Woolard said in a statement. “His passion for the University, warm personality and a demonstrated skill set unique to hosting and managing events made this a great match for him.”

Fee, a former All-American as a golfer at USF, was Conference USA Coach of the Year in 2000.

“I really appreciate this opportunity afforded to me by Mr. Woolard and Scott Glaser,” Fee said in a statement. “The administrative side of intercollegiate athletics has always been appealing to me, and to be able to take this growth opportunity at my alma mater is very special. I’m looking forward to the challenges of this position as our Athletic Department continues to excel.”

Fitzpatrick, Burwell in court today

Sophomore basketball team members Toarlyn Fitzpatrick and Mike Burwell are scheduled to appear in court today in the wake of their arrests last month for leaving a Tampa restaurant without paying their food bill.

Burwell, a guard, and Fitzpatrick, a forward, were charged with obtaining food with intent to defraud after leaving a Village Inn located at 215 N. Dale Mabry Highway without paying their $29.91 bill last month.

Coach Stan Heath has yet to take disciplinary action. Both Burwell and Fitzpatrick are expected to be a part of USF’s regular rotation next year. Fitzpatrick, who started 22 games last year after an injury forced forward Augustus Gilchrist to miss time, averaged 4.5 points per game and hit a game-tying 3 as time expired in USF’s overtime win against Providence on Jan. 23.

Heath talks Izzo decision

Heath, a former pupil of legendary Michigan State coach Tom Izzo, said he’s glad to see his friend stay with the Spartans amid rumors of Izzo joining superstar LeBron James in the NBA as the head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Izzo, who was offered the job last week after Cleveland fired former coach Mike Brown in May, decided to remain at the school despite the Cavaliers offering him a reported 5-year, $30 million contract.

Heath was an assistant coach for five seasons (1996-2000) under Izzo at Michigan State, helping the team to a national title in 2000.

“It would have been hard to imagine Michigan State taking the court without Tom Izzo on the sideline,” Heath said to the Detroit Free-Press. “He’s a fixture at the university and great for college basketball. Everybody is excited to have him back doing what he does best. It’s great that he never left.”