United from Start to Finish. Just a few days into the head coaching gig, Coach Jeff Scott has already coined one of the better phrases for the football program in quite some time. The #BullStrong that was used during Charlie Strong’s three year tenure will remain in our hearts and minds, but Scott’s initial media push was a breath of fresh air and then some for this program in just a few short days.
Dare I say that an active Jeff Scott Twitter account proudly repping his new university injected life into a football program whose fans have been left lifeless on social media for far too long? All that I can say is that if you didn’t buy into the hype before, you definitely did this time with an EXTRA holiday purchase since ‘Tis the season.
Before we move any deeper into the article, just know that my initial sentiment isn’t just rooted on social media activity and a new hashtag… Very millennial of me if that was the case though…
At the Sam and Martha Gibbons Alumni Center on December 11th, Coach Jeff Scott was introduced and welcomed by a packed house to the University of South Florida as the football program’s fifth head coach in program history. Being my first press conference, I really didn’t know what to expect, setting the bar anywhere between a casual World of Beer trip on a school night to a lively SoHo bar experience on Friday night (If you know, you know). Seated in my chair equipped with a camera too nice for my amateur photography skills, I was ready to roll. Who did the Vice President of Athletics Michael Kelly & Associates implement as the next man to lead this football program into the future? I, along with the rest of Bulls Nation was there to find out.
When Jeff Scott was named the next head coach at USF, my initial reaction was “Wow”. Mind you, Scott’s name was thrown around by everyone as a possible candidate for the USF gig, but with rumors of Willie Taggart and Jim Leavitt popping up left and right, there was a serious possibility that either coach could be the next man up to lead the Bulls.
Once those rumors diminished and Jeff Scott was officially signed, sealed, and delivered, I was finally able to sit back and look at the hire in full. With a great background at Clemson and being apart of the foundation building of one the top programs in the nation, there was a lot to be excited about as a USF fan. However, the one thing that I wondered from the jump was the fit at USF.
For some reason, I just wasn’t sure if the fit was there right away. I looked at Taggart and saw a coach that knew Florida and had roots in the Bay Area coming from Bradenton. I looked at Charlie Strong and saw a coach reach the pinnacle of success at the University of Florida, someone that could come in and recruit Florida with ease much like Taggart was able to do during his tenure here. With Scott, it was just felt different in that regard, leading me to a place of slight uncertainty when the hire became official. Here’s where my day at the Alumni Center changed my outlook on the hire.
Coach Scott’s introductory press conference was filled with gratitude, comments on what the hiring process looked like, and statements on the current and future of the football program. Add a few humorous remarks and the 17+ minute speech had everyone on board for the 2020 season.
Throughout the morning and into the afternoon, I took note of my surroundings and what the vibe in the room was, gauging how others felt about both the hire and what Coach Scott had to say once the stage was handed over to him. I can tell you this, genuine excitement was in the air from start to finish, something that I’m sure most introductory press conferences feel like, but nonetheless worth to note. It was almost if the room let out a big sigh of relief once CJS spoke about his vision for the program, touching on things such as focusing on the Bay Area for recruiting, having fun during the process, and welcoming back former Bulls with open arms. Give me two words to describe this press conference and I would give you united and family… and this hire felt right at home.
Welcome to the Jeff Scott Era ladies and gentleman. Enjoy the ride.