When former USF basketball player Bradley Mosley lost a yearlong battle with kidney cancer Saturday, it marked the second time in two weeks that the Bulls lost a member of their athletic family.
Mosley's death is especially tragic because he was only 22, and touching because of the way he inspired his teammates and fans in the past year. But you'd be hard-pressed to find a more loyal or active supporter of Bulls athletics than Homosassa's Jack Boyd, who died Oct.15 at age 65 after battling liver cancer.
"It was incredible, not just how much he loved the Bulls, but how much he appreciated life," said USF baseball coach Eddie Cardieri, who visited Boyd in September with football coach Jim Leavitt, sharing an airboat ride and dinner at his Citrus County home.
Boyd was part of USF's first graduating class in 1963 and was the first president of USF's alumni association. The son of a Brahman cattle breeder, he and a classmate have been credited for helping choose "Bulls" as the young school's mascot.
Boyd and his wife, Janis, a 1973 USF graduate, announced in 2003 that they were pledging an estate gift totaling $7.5-million toward USF scholarships in business and athletics, the largest philanthropy by an alumnus.
"Any campaign we ever started, Jack was at the forefront," said Joe Tomaino, director of major gifts for the USF Bulls Club.
The Boyds hosted a small "Around the Horns" booster gathering in Homosassa in June, and when USF made its Big East football debut in September with a resounding upset of then-No. 9 Louisville, Boyd went out to midfield to preside over the opening coin toss.
Just before USF's football game at Pittsburgh, Boyd was told by doctors that his cancer had progressed to the point that he likely had only a day to live. He and Janis went home and he told her he wanted to put on his green Bulls blazer and a favorite Big East shirt, and died peacefully in his easy chair.
"He said he wanted to go out as a Bull," Tomaino said.
STARTING AT HOME: USF's men's soccer team, regular-season champs of the Big East's Red division, opens the postseason at home at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament.
The Bulls (11-5, 8-2) will play the winner of today's Rutgers-West Virginia match, and while West Virginia is the higher seed, Rutgers is the only team to beat USF by more than one goal this season, handing them a 3-0 loss two weeks ago. The Bulls are 8-1 on their homefield, unbeaten since losing the season opener to Florida International.
USF freshman Jordan Seabrook, named Big East rookie of the week for the third time, was the conference's regular-season goals leader with 11, finishing second with 27 points. Sophomore Rodrigo Hidalgo, the league's player of the week, finishing second in the Big East with 11 assists.
THIS AND THAT: Fans can get their first look at the men's basketball team in a "Green and Gold" intrasquad scrimmage at 7 tonight at the Sun Dome. It is free and open to the public. ... Ken Eriksen's softball team is piling up academic accolades. The team's 3.24 grade-point average was the best in the Big East and 27th nationally, according to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association. ... Bright House Networks' Catch 47 will broadcast Saturday's football game at Rutgers, live and again at 9 p.m. Sunday.
Greg Auman covers USF athletics. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Check out his "USF Bulletin" blog online at sptimes.com/blogs/usf.