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What lead to men’s basketball coach Brian Gregory’s firing

Men’s basketball coach Brian Gregory led the Bulls to a College Basketball Invitational championship in his second season, but has since failed to replicate his early success. USF ATHLETICS PHOTO

With six seasons marred by poor offense and inconsistent play as the head coach of USF men’s basketball team, Brian Gregory leaves a frustrating and disappointing legacy following his dismissal on March 10.

The former Dayton and Georgia Tech coach got off to a hot start at USF, guiding the Bulls to the College Basketball Invitational championship over DePaul in his second season. His early success gave fans a sense of optimism for the future of South Florida basketball. However, that season proved to be an anomaly. 

USF failed to repeat its 24-win season, not garnering another winning season since. Gregory finished his six-year tenure with a 79-107 record, including a 14-18 record this past season.

Conference play proved to be a weak point for the Bulls, going a poor 33-72 in the AAC. They never eclipsed 10 conference wins in a single season under Gregory. 

His tenure has been widely marked by poor offense, with the Bulls ranking last in the AAC in points per game during the 2019 and 2021 seasons. USF has shot a collective average of 40.6% under Gregory, which is below the DI average of 44%. USF has also shot poorly behind the three point line, shooting just 25% during the 2018-19 and 2021-22 seasons. 

Struggles with retaining players and keeping them healthy have also plagued his tenure.

Guard Caleb Murphy was poised to become the next face of USF basketball, recruited by Gregory in 2020 to become the highest rated commit in Bulls history. Murphy led the team in scoring with 11.4 points per game in 2021 before transferring to DePaul the following spring. 

Forward Alexis Yetna averaged nearly a double double as a freshman in 2018, winning Conference Freshman of the Year en route to a CBI championship. Yetna would miss the entire next season due to a knee injury he suffered during preseason. 

The Bulls came into this season with high hopes and a roster bolstered by veteran transfers, including former Memphis guard Tyler Harris and South Carolina forward Keyshawn Bryant.  

Although the Bulls won their most games since 2019, USF finished with its fourth straight losing season. Poor clock management and several blown leads marked a season that would be Gregory’s last. 

Gregory’s dismissal came one day after the Bulls were knocked out of the first round of the AAC Tournament in a 73-58 loss to East Carolina, which is their second consecutive first round exit in the tournament. 

South Florida has now begun the search for its 11th head coach in program history. Potential candidates include former Louisville head coach Rick Pitino and former Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner, according to the Tampa Bay Times.