As new head coach Alex Golesh took the stage for his introductory ceremony on Monday, he made one thing clear — he wants to win and is willing to do the work to get there.
During his entrance he was greeted with a standing ovation and fanfare by the Herd of Thunder. The audience was on the edge of their seats to meet USF’s “new guy.” Golesh moved the room with his heartfelt remarks and thanks to his wife, children and South Florida for support in him taking the job.
Before arriving in Tampa, Golesh was the offensive coordinator and tight ends coach at Tennessee.
Referring to him as a “turnaround specialist,” Vice President and Director of USF Athletics Michael Kelly said he stood out during the interview process because of his blue-collar work ethic and recruiting skills.
“‘What will the identity be and how will you get there?’ Of the dozens of conversations that were taking place over the past couple of weeks, that was the primary question,” Kelly said.
“And speaking with coach Golesh, I love the focus, details and specificity of the plan that he was able to provide. That plan is going to help rise us to the top of the [American Athletic Conference] and to win the [AAC] consistently.”
Part of that plan are the values Golesh wants to see in the Bulls. He needs his team to stay positive, work hard, compete in everything and have discipline.
Starting Jan. 9, when the team begins the spring semester, he is expecting the players to hit the weight room and field while still focusing on the classroom.
“Crazy thing about the landscape of college football, NIL and the transfer portal, hard work still wins through all of it,” Golesh said. “We’re gonna set a standard to be as good as we can as fast as we can.”
Although he was speaking about his personal plans, Golesh emphasized his time behind the podium on Monday would be the last time the fans heard him talk about himself. He is putting his full focus on his players because he considers them to be the best recruiters.
Golesh said the real recruitment happens when the players are hanging out and asking questions about the reality of the team outside of their interactions with the coaches.
“We can demand greatness from our players and bring young men on this campus with their families,” Golesh said. “Those guys will recruit for us. The one group of people that never lies in recruitment is your own players.”
Confidence lies in the fact that Golesh coaches on all sides of the ball. Offensively, Golesh said the Bulls will “light up the scoreboard” and special teams will be different as well.
“I’ve coached on special teams and coordinated it,” Golesh said. “I see it from a different perspective. I see from a big picture view and now I get a chance to put my own stamp on it.”
A new hire for the defensive coordinator was brought up, but the name was never mentioned. Golesh described him as a coach he has failed to hire in the past, but on Saturday he got the news he accepted the position. With this in mind, he said the defense will be aggressive.
FAU defensive coordinator Todd Orlando is expected to be hired at USF in the same position, per a report by Pete Thamel of ESPN. No official announcement or confirmation from the university has been made as of yet.
In spite of his prior team preparing for the Orange Bowl on Dec. 30, Golesh confirmed he will not be seen coaching the Volunteers (10-2, 6-2 SEC) because of the large task that lies for him in Tampa. In addition to the defensive coordinator hire, he has worked with USF’s NIL collective — the Fowler Avenue Collective. By doing so, he hopes to support NIL funds.
His need to “outwork everyone” comes from what he learned from his parents when they immigrated to the U.S. in 1991. Throughout his career he said he learned to have a humble approach from the abundance of jobs he has undergone.
From sweeping floors to being head coach, it was his mentors that have had the most impact on him. He believes this head coaching position now allows him to impact players in ways his past coaches affected him.
“This opportunity gives me a chance to pay it back to some young guys that deserve the opportunity as well,” Golesh said. “I’m blessed beyond belief to be the sixth head football coach in the history of this program.”