Stan Heath came to USF generating enthusiasm and hope that he would take the men’s basketball team to new heights.
He was fired Friday amid disappointment and frustration.
Heath had four more years remaining on his contract that was extended in 2012 by former USF athletic director Doug Woolard after the Bulls went to the NCAA Tournament.
Mark Harlan, who was introduced as USF’s athletic director Tuesday, made the call on Heath’s dismissal, which was widely speculated. The Bulls (12-20) ended their season on a nine game losing this week when they were eliminated from the American Athletic Conference by Rutgers.
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Heath finished his seven years at USF with a 97-130 record. The real killer for him is in the last two years the Bulls were 6-32 in conference play (including last season in the Big East ).
It was thought USF would show significant improvement this year when the team moved into the AAC. But that conference turned out to be a lot stronger than expected with Louisville, Connecticut, Cincinnati, Memphis and SMU under Larry Brown earning top 20 rankings.
The Bulls then tumbled quickly when starting point guard Anthony Collins was lost with an injury.
Heath was named Big East Coach of the Year in 2012 and was heralded for getting the Bulls an NIT bid berth in 2010. He replaced Robert McCullum, who USF’s head coach from 2003 through ’07 and is now an assistant at UCF.
In announcing the hiring of Harlan earlier this week, USF president Judy Genshaft was critical of the school’s revenue producing sports.
Woolard also extended the contract of USF football coach Skip Holtz and then fired him less than six months later. The school hired Willie Taggart, who finished his first season in 2013 with a 2-10 record.