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College football

Two coaches elect to leave Leavitt's staff

By PETE YOUNG
Published February 19, 2004

USF running backs coach Leroy Ryals and wide receivers coach Tom Pajic resigned, the school announced, breaking up a staff that had been intact three seasons.

Ryals, who turns 34 on March 2, is joining Nick Saban's staff as either a wide receivers or tight ends coach at LSU. It is the first time he won't be coaching at an alma mater. Ryals was head coach at Sarasota Booker for six seasons before breaking into the college ranks with the Bulls in 2000. USF's announcement caught LSU off guard.

"We've interviewed several coaches and Coach Saban is not ready to announce a hiring yet," LSU sports information director Michael Bonnette said.

Pajic, 35, who was married Sunday in St. Petersburg and is honeymooning on the Cayman Islands, will relocate to the Northeast, where his wife has a job offer. Pajic, a New Jersey native who played at Bloomsburg (Pa.) University, interviewed Feb. 5 for the offensive coordinator/wide receivers job at Pittsburgh. He coached four seasons at USF.

USF coach Jim Leavitt said he did not have a timetable for replacing them but hopes to have it done by March 16, the start of spring practice.

"We'll find the very best coaches we can," Leavitt said. "We're very appreciative of the contributions both coaches made to our program. We certainly wish each of them the best of luck."

[Last modified February 19, 2004, 02:00:25]


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