Raymond Woodie is saying goodbye to South Florida. After four years as an assistant coach to longtime friend Willie Taggart, Woodie will not return to USF next fall. The Bulls announced Brian Jean-Mary as their new defensive coordinator and assistant head coach Tuesday, officially ending Woodie’s tenure as defensive coordinator after only one season.
Woodie, who was previously the head coach at both Palmetto High School and Bayshore High School, thanked the university and athletic department with a Twitter post Tuesday.
Woodie is officially the first local casualty of Taggart’s departure for Oregon. Former Manatee head coach Joe Kinnan, who served as a senior offensive consultant to Taggart the past two seasons, has not made a decision on his future, although he told multiple former Hurricane assistant coaches he does not plan to join Taggart in Euguene, Ore. Kinnan also told the coaches he would like to continue coaching in some capacity.
Woodie has been a fixture at Taggart’s side since Taggart landed his first head coaching job at Western Kentucky before the 2010 season. Woodie coached defensive ends for two years and then linebacker for one before the two Palmetto natives left for Tampa after the 2012 season. At USF, Woodie began as linebackers coach for two years, added the assistant head coach title for the 2015 season and then was promoted to defensive coordinator for his final season. Woodie never held a job in college football prior to his arrival at WKU.
Woodie’s defense was the Bulls’ greatest weakness in 2016. USF ranked 120th out of 128 Football Bowl Subdivision teams in total defense, 92nd in scoring defense and 81st in yards allowed per play. New Bulls head coach Charlie Strong opted for Jean-Mary, who has spent the past seven seasons on Strong’s staffs at Texas and Louisville, instead of Woodie’s unproven track record.
“Brian has been a big part of assembling and coaching some of the best defenses in college football over the last 14 years and is ready for the next step to defensive coordinator,” Strong said in a release announcing Jean-Mary’s hire. “He has recruited, coached and mentored numerous all-conference and future NFL players, and I’m excited for him to work with our student-athletes and South Florida.”
Woodie will be most missed in Manatee County because of his recruiting ties to the area. He has been a primary or secondary recruiter on local players of all skill levels — ranging from Southeast High School defensive end Darrien Grant, a three-star prospect with several Atlantic Coast Conference offers, to Bradenton Christian School linebacker Brett Gerber, an unranked junior without any other offers.
He did not give any indication of his future and a message sent to Woodie on Tuesday was not immediately returned. He could seek a job as a linebackers or defensive ends coach — defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt will also serve as linebackers coach with the Ducks — or potential return to the high school ranks. Woodie’s son, Raymond Woodie III, is a promising sophomore quarterback for Tampa’s Carrollwood Day School, which played with an interim coach last season and went 2-6.
Woodie could also choose to spend the next year away from football. He signed a two-year contract with USF when he was promoted to offensive coordinator and is owed $275,000 for the coming season.