South Florida fans can now rejoice as the Bulls announced the hiring of a new men’s head basketball coach on Wednesday. Amir Abdur-Rahim was officially named the 11th head coach in program history, following the firing of Brian Gregory, who went 79-107 at USF, earlier this month. Abdur-Rahim led the Kennesaw State Owls to the program’s first Atlantic Sun conference title and an NCAA Tournament appearance this season.
Big news on campus this week, Bulls!🤘🏀
Amir Abdur-Rahim has been selected as the 11th head coach in @USFMBB history. Read more about his background and coaching experience ⬇️https://t.co/wYz1BaDsc5
— University of South Florida (@USouthFlorida) April 1, 2023
Under the inspiring Abdur-Rahim, the Owls went 26-9 in 2022-23 and capped off a phenomenal season with a thrilling win over Liberty in the ASUN title game. Four years ago, the Owls won just one game. Three years later, the program made history as the fastest team in NCAA history to make the tournament following that one-win season. In this year’s Big Dance, the 14th seeded Owls nearly defeated 3-seed Xavier, but lost 72-67.
A historic turnaround in his previous stop, @sunsetAMIR has big plans for the Bulls!#HornsUp 🤘 pic.twitter.com/iUo6wo7lzq
— USF Men's Basketball (@USFMBB) March 29, 2023
Abdur-Rahim brings strong leadership skills and valuable coaching experience to a South Florida Men’s Basketball program in dire need of such traits. During his four seasons at KSU, Abdur-Rahim led the Owls to a 45-74 record, notably doubling his season to season win totals annually. Becoming the new face of the franchise in Tampa will certainly be a tall task, and the fruits of his efforts will be seen by year three. However, the Bulls will compete in a new-look American Athletic Conference that will feature Conference USA powerhouse programs UAB, North Texas and Florida Atlantic. Notably, the FAU Owls made the 2023 Final Four, and the aforementioned UNT Mean Green outlasted the UAB Blazer’s in the 2023 NIT Championship.
Expect Abdur-Rahim to hit the transfer portal hard during the summer searching for new additions to the roster for the 2023-24 season. This past season, USF finished 14-11 and lost in the first round of the AAC tournament against East Carolina. Shortly after, Gregory was fired by the school. The new era of USF basketball starts now, and Amir Abdur-Rahim just might end up being the right hire for this job.