Hipsher promoted to assistant coach

Former USF men’s basketball assistant coach Reggie Hanson has a new role on the Bulls’ staff.

USF coach Stan Heath demoted Hanson to director of basketball operations – a position vacated by Andy Hipsher, who is now an assistant coach. Hipsher joins Steve Roccaforte and Eric Skeeters as Heath’s three assistants.

Hipsher has an established pedigree, having worked as a graduate assistant under famed coach Bobby Knight at Texas Tech from 2004-06 and under current Nevada-Las Vegas coach Lon Kruger as a video coordinator in 2006. He was an assistant coach at Utah Valley State and Wyoming before arriving at USF in 2009-10.

The salaries of both Hipsher and Hanson will remain unchanged for the upcoming season, according to the St. Petersburg Times. Hipsher will earn $65,000 and have increased recruiting duties, including off-campus visits with potential recruits. Hanson will again make $101,500, but will no longer be permitted to recruit off campus, instead working with recruits during official campus visits.

According to the USF Sports Bulletin by Times writer Greg Auman, Hipsher is single and “has more time to spend working with players on the courts of USF’s new Muma Center practice facility.”

USF improves in Directors’ Cup

For the second consecutive year, USF has moved up the ranks in the Directors’ Cup standings, a program that honors institutions that achieve success in many sports, both men and women’s.

The Cup, a point-based competition started by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics and the USA Today in 1993-94 for Division I, was expanded in 1995-96 to include Division II, III and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.

USF moved up 19 spots to rank 86th in the annual measure of schools’ success in the NCAA postseason thanks primarily to women’s soccer, which stole the show with 50 points after advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Football earned 45 points for USF for winning its bowl game. Also scoring high points for the Bulls were the men and women’s track and field team, which combined for 63 points, and women’s tennis with 25 points.

Notre Dame finished 18th, the highest placed Big East school, though the Fighting Irish are only a conditional Big East member and are independent in football. Louisville was the next highest program in the conference, finishing 34th nationally.

USF is lowest among Big East football schools, with only non-football members St. John’s, 94, Marquette, 96, and Providence, 113, lower. Stony Brook is worst in the nation, ranking 116th.

Whittaker joins UFL

Former USF wide receiver Huey Whittaker is leaving the Tampa Bay area. Whittaker was in his first season with the Arena Football League’s (AFL) Tampa Bay Storm, leading the team with 125 receptions this season and 1,405 receiving yards.

The Storm still has two games remaining in the regular season, but Whittaker has chosen to sign with the United Football League’s Virginia Destroyers, who opened camp Sunday.

“This is an opportunity to play more football,” Whittaker said in a statement released by the Storm. “I am proud of the guys on the team and know they will continue to play hard.”

Whittaker was one of four former Bulls on the Storm’s roster.

This will be the Destroyers’ first season after relocation. The franchise was originally based in Orlando and known as the Florida Tuskers. Virginia opens its UFL season Aug. 13 against the Hartford Colonials.

USF fifth-best?

A poll conducted in June by Public Policy Polling asked 848 Floridians across the state which Florida college football team was their favorite.

Florida won the state, with 30 percent of all responses citing the Gators as their favorite team. Florida State was second, with 18 percent of the vote. UCF came in third with 11 percent, and Miami finished fourth with 9 percent. The Bulls finished fifth with 6 percent of the vote, just ahead of Florida Atlantic, 5 percent, and Florida International, 1 percent.

Eighteen percent of respondents said they were not sure which team was their favorite. The poll had a 3.4 percent margin of error.

Bonani on watch

Rising junior kicker Maikon Bonani is one of 30 kickers nationwide named to the Lou Groza Award Watch List.

Bonani won the starting role early last season, after beginning the year as Eric Schwartz’s backup, and produced the best kicking percentage in Bulls history, making 17-of-21 attempts.