Alex Golesh set to take over as South Florida coach

Saul Young/News Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK

TAMPA, Fla. – South Florida hired Tennessee offensive coordinator Alex Golesh as its new head football coach on Sunday.

Golesh, who came to Tennessee with head coach Josh Heupel in 2021 after the two were at Central Florida in 2019, takes over a USF program that went 1-11 this year. The Bulls finished 0-8 in the American Athletic Conference.

“This program will have an identity both offensively and defensively, and with special teams,” Golesh said in a statement. “We will be the most aggressive team in the country, both on the field and on the recruiting trail.”

Tennessee had the No. 1 offense in the country in yards per play (7.35) and scoring (47.3 points per game).

“He is a dynamic coach and recruiter who is relentless in pursuit of excellence, as evidenced by his outstanding track record of elevating numerous programs,” USF vice president of athletics Michael Kelly said in a statement. “He also happens to be one of the most creative and successful offensive minds in college football.”

South Florida fired Jeff Scott last month after he went 4-26 over two-plus seasons.

Golesh is a finalist for the Broyles Award, honoring the top assistant coach in college football.

Golesh was the tight ends coach-recruiting coordinator for Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell from 2016-19 where he helped the Cyclones turn around from a 3-9 season before their arrival to what became a run of five consecutive bowl games.

“Alex is a gifted leader of people,” Campbell said in a statement. “He is articulate, smart, charismatic, and he most importantly cares about the lives of his players.”

Golesh was born in the Soviet Union, grew up in New York and went to high school in Dublin, Ohio.

Golesh was a student assistant coach while attending Ohio State as an undergraduate and spent 2 1/2 years aiding the Buckeyes defensive coaches, and spent three seasons as a graduate assistant coach at Northern Illinois (2006-07) and Oklahoma State (2008), He has also coached at Toledo and Illinois.

USF coach Jeff Scott fired, a day after 54-28 loss to Temple

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

TAMPA Fla. — South Florida coach Jeff Scott was fired one day after his team gave up 621 yards of offense in a 54-28 loss to Temple that dropped him to 4-26 at the school.

Special teams coordinator Daniel Da Prato will be the interim coach for the remainder of the season.

“When Jeff came to Tampa in December of 2019, we had high expectations for where he could take our football program,” USF athletic director Michael Kelly said in a statement. “While he did so many things right, including rebuilding our culture, pushing forward our indoor performance facility, and engaging our community, the on-the-field results fell well below our standards.”

South Florida is 1-8 this season, 0-5 in the American Athletic Conference.

“I would like to thank our players, coaches and staff members for all their hard work during my time as the head coach at USF,” Scott said. “I will miss this team and will do anything in my power to help them in the future. I am disappointed that our hard work didn’t translate to more success on the field, but I am confident that we have set a new foundation.”

Scott joined USF after serving five years as the co-offensive coordinator at Clemson, which went 70-5 over the stretch.

Defensive coordinator Bob Shoop was also fired. Co-defensive coordinator Ernie Sims will take over for Shoop.

Ridder breaks Cincinnati TD record, Bearcats beat USF

Jeremy Reper-USA TODAY Sports

TAMPA, Fla. — Desmond Ridder threw two touchdown passes to break the Cincinnati career record and ran for a score to help the No. 2 Bearcats beat South Florida 45-28 on Friday night.

Cincinnati (10-0, 6-0 American Athletic, No. 5 CFP), one of four unbeaten FBS teams, has started the season with 10 consecutive wins for just the second time in school history. The Bearcats also did it in 2009, when they got off to a 12-0 start.

Ridder broke the school record with this 79th touchdown pass, a 21-yard strike to Josh Whyle early in the third that made it 31-7. Gino Guidugli, now Cincinnati’s quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator, had 78 scoring passes from 2001-04.

Ridder completed 31 of 39 passes for 304 yards, and ran for 65 yards on 13 carries.

The Bearcats played without running back Jerome Ford due to a leg injury that happened during last week against Tulsa. Ford has 888 yards and 15 rushing touchdowns.

Jaren Mangham had two rushing TDs for South Florida (2-8, 1-5), which has lost 19 consecutive games against teams ranked in the top 20 since upsetting Notre Dame on the road in October 2011. He has 15 touchdowns on the ground this season, tied for second-most in USF history.

Freshman Timmy McClain completed 16 of 29 passes for 245 yards. His 80-yard hookup with Jimmy Horn Jr. got USF to 31-21 late in the third quarter, and he added a 2-yard TD run that the cut deficit to 38-28 with six minutes to play.

Ridder had a 13-yard TD run, connected on a 1-yard scoring strike to Tre Tucker, and Alex Bales made a 27-yard field goal during the second quarter as the Bearcats took a 24-7 lead.

After turning the ball over on its first and fourth plays on offense, Cincinnati tied it at 7 when Ryan Montgomery scored on a 12-yard dash with 2:57 left in the first. He had a 55-yard TD run with just over a minute remaining and finished with 72 yards on six carries.

USF took a 7-0 lead midway through the opening quarter when Mangham had a 2-yard TD run.

Cincinnati limited USF to 39 first-half yards.


Cincinnati: Had several costly first-half penalties, including an offside call that gave USF a first down in a punting situation, and an ineligible receiver downfield that negated a Ridder TD pass. The Bearcats struggled to close out the win, allowing three long second-half scoring drives and losing a fumble at USF 1 early in the fourth.

USF: Had periods of success against a top-20 team for the second straight week. The Bulls lost 54-42 to then No. 20 Houston last week.


Cincinnati will remain near the top in the AP poll but it remains to be seen how the voters will look at the relatively close win over USF.


USF G Michael Wiggs was honored on senior’s night and then proposed to his girlfriend during the onfield pregame ceremony.


Cincinnati: Hosts SMU on Nov. 20.

USF: At Tulane on Nov. 20.