Catching up with USF Athletics: USF cheer teams take home gold at UCA College Nationals

The South Florida Coed Cheer Team placed first in the UCA College Nationals for the third consecutive year in a row. USF ATHLETICS PHOTO

USF’s Coed and All-Girl cheer teams competed in the Universal Cheerleaders Association (UCA) College Nationals in Orlando last weekend and brought home two first-place trophies.

The Coed Cheer Team took first place in the Division 1A (D1A) Large Coed category and placed bronze in the D1A Large Coed Game Day category.

Led by coach Gillian Guadagnino, USF won over second-place Kentucky, third-place Ohio State and fourth-place UCF. 

This is the third consecutive year the Bulls brought home the highest title in the UCA competition. South Florida and Kentucky are now the only two schools who have won three straight national championship titles. 

Coach Sandy Clarke helped the All-Girl Cheer Team make an impressive jump in qualifications in less than a year. 

Last year, the team landed in fourth place at the competition but jumped to first place this year in the D1A Game Day competition.

New football hires 

Since Alex Golesh was named the new head coach for USF football on Dec. 4, he has made massive changes to his staff for the upcoming season

James Rowe’s return to South Florida was announced on Jan. 10. He will be the defensive pass game coordinator/safeties coach for the Bulls. 

Rowe graduated from USF back in 2009. He has since logged 12 seasons as a football coach with five of them being in the NFL.

Rowe was named as one of the 56 candidates for the Broyles Award in 2020, which honors assistant coaches in college-level football.

Golesh announced on Friday the arrival of Jeff Jones as the new director of player development for the team.

Jones has coached both high school and university-level teams throughout his career. Most recently, he was the principal at the Park Street Intermediate School in Ohio from 2020-22. 

During Jones’ time as offensive coordinator at Dublin University, Golesh was able to witness his mentorship style firsthand on the field while playing for him. 

Additionally, USF football introduced five other recruiting staff members. Will Bahler now serves as the director of high school relations and recruiting, Ryland Powell assumed the role of assistant director of on-campus recruiting, Taylor McDaniel is the director of on-campus recruiting, Ephi Levy is the new director of player personnel and Josh Rosenthal is the director of scouting. 

Matthew Middleton was also named the new wide receivers coach for the team on Jan. 4.

Middleton has spent the past 15 years coaching wide receivers at a collegiate level and took his previous school, Kent State, to six all-conference selections and four first-team honors. This is what motivated Golesh to bring Middleton over to USF.

Golesh has announced 12 new staff members in addition to 16 players who were signed on early from the NCAA Early Signing period so far.

Men’s basketball grabs first conference win

Breaking their consecutive four game losing streak, USF men’s basketball obtained a 81-70 win over East Carolina University on Sunday.

The win over the Pirates gave the Bulls’ (8-10, 1-4 AAC) offense a chance to show what they’re capable of.

Fifth-year guard Tyler Harris has been on a roll the last two games after placing a career high of 31 points against Houston on Jan. 11, followed by 24 points against ECU.

Alongside Harris, junior center Russel Tchewa scored 20 points and made six field goals, making him and Harris the topscorers of the match.

As the conference season continues, USF will have to keep its momentum going when they face Cincinnati at the Yuengling Center on Wednesday at 7 p.m.  

AAC Player of the Week- Sammie Puisis

Junior guard Sammie Puisis has been named to the American Athletic Conference weekly honor roll for the second week in a row. 

Puisis achieved her highest number of points scored in a game with 28 points, six of which were three-pointers against Tulane on Saturday. 

She makes 93% of her free throws, 38% of her three-pointers and averages 16.5 points per game.

South Florida will face its next conference season opponent on Wednesday against Houston at 8 p.m.