USF athletic director Doug Woolard led a contingent of coaches including Willie Taggart and Stan Health to a Bulls Club Around the Horns event in Orlando Monday evening.
The event, one of several the group is hosting around the state this summer, drew a large crowd of USF alumni and fans from the Central Florida area.
Woolard took a couple of moments to speak with the media about several topics including how fans have embraced Willie Taggart, the general feeling coming out of the American Athletic Conference spring meeting last month and the possible rivalry between USF and UCF.
Q: How has new football coach Willie Taggart been received during these event?
Doug Woolard: “He’s been really well received in all of the Tampa Bay area. I know people are excited about the energy he brings and the fact that he’s from here, from the Tampa Bay area and our players have really received him very well. So far, he’s certainly made a mark in recruiting and that’s with being on the job for only six weeks so I’m excited to see what he’ll do in the next couple of months.”
Q: What’s impressed you the most about him?
DW: “I think he’s connected with our players. When I watch them and I watch their reaction. We haven’t had a player, I believe, that has wanted to transfer. I believe he’s brought an expectation and discipline to the program – that probably comes from the Harbaugh background – and a guy who is respected and very respectful.”
Q: What was your sense of the attitude coming out of the spring meetings in Ponte Vedra last month?
DW: “There was a good spirit. A good togetherness. It was the first time that we’ve had athletic director meetings where we all sat in the same room at the same time. Sometimes football ADs would be in one room and basketball ADs would go into another room. From a governing standpoint, this is the first time that we’ve all had the same goals. We all had the same governess, the same financial structure. It felt good. I know there are a lot of people excited about coming to this … I think there was a real good spirit.”
Q: How important is it for the school to reach out and do these sort of events to let fans know that despite all of the league changes, USF if still here and strong?
DW: “We need to reach out … I’ve been really pleased at how our fans: season ticket holders and alumni have participated with our program. We need to do this. It’s our turn to reach out to them. This is a great time to do it … in June. Because basketball recruiting hasn’t kicked in, spring football is over so it gives us an opportunity to get out here. … This is an important area for us in all sports.”
Q: Will you do more Orlando events now that you have a conference rival here?
DW: “I think we will. I think you’ll see this thing probably double by the time next year comes. Not only is it football – for four years out of 10 – now it’s every year so people can mark it on their calendars. Whether it’s a home or away game. It’s basketball now, baseball, volleyball, golf, etc. .. so it will become something. I’m not sure if it ever was a rivalry, but it will become one because of the conference affiliation.”
Q: How important is a rivalry between UCF and USF to not only the respective programs, but the state as well?
DW: “We’re maybe the only school that has played every Division I football team in the state. We’ll continue to look for those games, but this is something that now becomes a constant. I think that alone is important. … I think it’s more than just football.”
Q: How about the new logo: Are you wearing it? Showing it around to people?
DW: “We do. We got our style guide about two days ago. We shared that with our coaches and we provided some feedback to the conference office. So, we’re really close to being able to start a whole new rebranding effort.
I’ve got a team on my staff that’s put together to identify every place that we’ve got to change the logo. You think about it. It’s every place from water towers to business cards. It’s going to be a process that will take some time.
We’ve already started it. I had them identify every place we were going to have to change it and the cost to change it and the timeline to do it. So, it’s a logo that seems to have been met well nationally. It seems to be a strong, bold concept.”
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