On Tuesday, Mark Harlan, formerly of UCLA, was introduced as South Florida’s new athletic director. During his introductory comments, Harlan explained what his schedule held in the coming days, saying he would meet with student-athletes and “…listen, listen, listen … then evaluate. Then I will act. I want to learn what’s working, what’s not working, then make some decisions. There are some decisions that need to be made.” The next day, USF dropped a closely-contested AAC tournament game to Rutgers. While Harlan doesn’t officially start until April 7th, Harlan apparently listened and evaluated on Thursday before acting today, firing coach Stan Heath.
The Bulls aren’t devoid of talent, and this past season, one that resulted in a 12-20 record and the loss of Anthony Collins, USF’s star guard whose year was significantly cut short by injuries, was not totally dreadful. The team had three AAC wins, and did beat Alabama during the non-conference slate. Whoever is hired by Harlan will have a stacked roster entering the 2014-15 season, and USF clearly has the pieces to contend. Collins had been shut down for most of the year, and his improved health will be crucial. The freshmen frontcourt duo of Chris Perry and John Egbunu should take the sophomore leap and spend next year beasting other conference bigs, and the year of experience under Heath will benefit one of the nation’s youngest teams.