Kelly: ‘What I am most committed to is someone that embraces the USF football opportunity’

USF Vice President of Athletics Michael Kelly said he will not use a search firm to hire a new football coach. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE/GOUSFBULLS

Nothing too concrete was said Monday by USF Vice President of Athletics Michael Kelly in terms of who will replace former football coach Charlie Strong, who was dismissed Sunday.

In fact, the only thing for certain is that USF will not use a search firm.

“Michael Kelly and associates will be the search firm,” Kelly said.

Kelly said nothing further will be said about potential candidates until a decision is made.

“The next time you’ll hear from me on this topic will be when we announce our next head coach,” Kelly said.

With the early signing period fast approaching  — the three-day period begins Dec. 18 — it adds additional incentive in making a decision quickly.

“We understand the urgency of it … we’re not blind to that,” Kelly said.

As fans clamor for past fixtures like former coaches Willie Taggart and Jim Leavitt, Kelly said all options are on the table.

“We have so many amazing coaches out there, so we’ll be open to a lot of different levels of experience,” Kelly said. “But I don’t have a profile in mind as it relates to a coordinator versus a head coach by any means.

“What I am most committed to is someone that embraces the USF football opportunity — who wants to make their mark here, who can best align with my vision for the future of USF football.”

Finding the right fit for the program is as crucial as ever, as the programs in the AAC are on the rise — Memphis, Cincinnati and Navy are all currently in the top 25 of the College Football Playoff ranking.

“We need to realize that the American plays big boy football,” Kelly said. “We are big boys and we will continue to be.

“We need to not only continue to find ways to focus on how we become as good as we want to be in the state and in the country, but it starts with the American and finding the resources and the support necessary.”

Between past members of the program and coaches on the rise, there are a number of choices at hand. The number bodes well for the quality of the program, according to Kelly.

It’s just down to making the right decision for the future of the program.

“There are many people interested in the future of USF football,” Kelly said.

“I’m excited to embark on that next chapter.”