In the wake of head coach Jeff Scott’s firing on Sunday, South Florida football’s special teams coordinator Daniel Da Prato will serve as interim head coach, and co-defensive coordinator Ernie Sims will assume Bob Shoop’s position, effective immediately.
After less than three seasons, Scott was fired Sunday night, a day after the devastating 54-28 blowout at Temple on Saturday. Defensive coordinator Shoop was also fired Sunday.
Da Prato joined the South Florida football staff in 2019 under Scott as the special teams coordinator. In his time at USF, however, he has worn multiple hats.
After the Bulls fired defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer on Nov. 26, 2021, following their loss to Central Florida, Da Prato assumed the role of co-interim defensive coordinator. As a Bull, he has contributed to the successes of players like sophomore running back Brian Battie and junior wide receiver Xavier Weaver.
Beginning his coaching career in 2006, South Florida’s interim coach has some in-depth experience. He began at Louisiana-Monroe, where he wrapped up his college football career. After three seasons, he then served on staff for a variety of schools including Sacramento State, Montana State, Colorado and Arkansas.
As for Sims, he also served alongside Da Prato as co-interim defensive coordinator after his arrival in 2020. He has been responsible for leading South Florida’s linebackers, including senior Antonio Grier
His career as a coach may be shorter, beginning in 2018 at Florida Atlantic, but his football knowledge is extensive with eight NFL seasons under his belt.
Drafted ninth overall in 2006, he spent four seasons with the Detroit Lions followed by one season each at the Philadelphia Eagles and Indianapolis Colts. His final two seasons in the NFL was with the Dallas Cowboys.
When it comes to a more permanent solution, Vice President and Director of USF Athletics Michael Kelly said his main focus is not just who is running the team, but the team itself.
“In the days ahead, I will share information about our search for a new head coach. Our focus right now is on the talented young men in our football program,” Kelly said.
This is a developing story.