USF AD says McCullum will return

Published March 2, 2006

After not commenting on the issue for two days, USF athletic director Doug Woolard released a statement that basketball coach Robert McCullum would return next season.

SI.com reported Monday a group of USF boosters was lobbying for McCullum to be replaced by former Cincinnati coach Bob Huggins, but that report has been widely dismissed by several prominent boosters.

"To put to rest any ambiguity that may have been caused by reports and innuendos directed toward our men's basketball coach, it is important to set the record straight. . ." Woolard said.

"We are making a break from our normal evaluation procedure to clear the cloud of negativity imposed on this program. ... Robert McCullum will remain our head men's basketball coach next season."

Woolard and McCullum spoke Monday night, and Woolard addressed the team during Wednesday's shootaround, reaffirming to them that their coach would return. McCullum said he didn't take the report seriously and tried to keep his team's focus on its two remaining games.

"Initially, I didn't believe it. I thought it was a joke. On one hand, I still think it's a joke," he said. "I was happy with the statement that Doug made, but honestly, there was never a moment I thought I wasn't going to be back."

- GREG AUMAN, Times staff writer