He has gone 10 months with nary a glaring misstep. From his robust non-conference football scheduling to his resuscitation of the USF athletics hall of fame, new athletic director Michael Kelly mostly has drawn raves.
On Wednesday, much of the fan base was raving again.
By dismissing longtime men’s and women’s track coach Warren Bye and his entire staff (including cross country coach Dena Reif), Kelly essentially issued a clear statement that mediocrity won’t be tolerated for long ― in any sport ― on his watch.
“We have high expectations for all our sports programs,” Kelly said in a school news release announcing the dismissals. “And I believe now is the time for a new direction in our track and field and cross country programs.”
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Though the Bulls achieved individual success ― including 22 All-Americans ― on Bye’s 13-year watch, they never broke through as a team. His only runner-up finish at a men’s conference championship occurred at the 2012 Big East outdoor meet.
The women’s best finishes were a couple of third-place showings at the ’12 and ’13 Big East outdoor meets. At the recent American Athletic Conference outdoor championships, the men placed seventh out of eight teams. The women were 12th out of 12.
They also placed seventh and 12th, respectively, at the AAC indoor championships.
“We have a strong athletics brand, an excellent university and an incredible recruiting base here in Florida,” Kelly said. “A national search for our new head coach will begin immediately.”