Former Manatee High School head coach Joe Kinnan is remaining coy about his future with South Florida after meeting with new USF head coach Charlie Strong on Thursday.
Strong met with the Bulls’ entire coaching staff briefly at 8 a.m. on Thursday before his press conference at Marshall Student Center, and then watched the end of USF’s final practice of the week. Strong will remain in Tampa through the weekend, Kinnan said, and plans to meet individually with coaches.
“I think he’s a good coach,” said Kinnan, who is in his second year as the Bulls’ senior offensive consultant. “I think he’s a fine person and will be a good fit.”
Kinnan had a prior relationship with Strong from the new coach’s four stints at Florida. Most recently, Strong was the Gators’ defensive coordinator from 2003-2009, which served as a jumping-off point for his head coaching career. Strong then spent four years at Louisville and three at Texas before being fired last month. He was hired by USF this week to replace former head coach Willie Taggart, a Palmetto native and Manatee alumnus, and will take over following the Birmingham Bowl.
The Dec. 29 bowl game, then, could be the final game with the No. 25 Bulls for Kinnan and defensive coordinator Raymond Woodie, another Palmetto native.
Kinnan was renowned for his willingness to adapt during his Hall of Fame career coaching the Hurricanes, and he helped USF develop one of the most prolific offenses in the country during his two seasons in Tampa. The Bulls set their single-season yardage record in 2015, then shattered it again this fall by averaging 515.1 yards per game. USF is 18-7 with Kinnan on staff.
“We did what we set out to do,” Kinnan said. “We want to get this 11th win, and then we’ll see what happens.”
Woodie’s future remains murky with Strong, a coach with a defensive background, expected to bring a significant chunk of his Longhorn staff to Tampa. Taggart hired former Colorado defensive coordinator and Bulls head coach Jim Leavitt as his defensive coordinator in Oregon, meaning Woodie cannot join his friend in the same role.
Woodie did not return a phone call Thursday.
Kinnan, however, suggested he has an idea of what’s next. The 71-year-old repeated a refrain Thursday he used a week earlier. “I’m old enough,” he said before acknowledging how much of his career is now behind him. Even before meeting Strong, Kinnan had begun to think about next year.
Said Kinnan: “We’ve talked about that a little bit.”