USF scores in the wallet as well as on the field in its bowl encore

Early figures show USF stands to more than double the profit it earned from its 2005 bowl trip.

Published January 25, 2007

TAMPA - USF's second bowl experience, beating East Carolina 24-7 in the Papajohns.com Bowl in Birmingham, Ala., last month, went much better than the first, and the same looks to be true from a financial standpoint.

Based on preliminary figures, USF stands to more than double the profit it earned from its 2005 trip to the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte, N.C., a 14-0 loss to N.C. State. Thanks to the Big East's payout of $1.1-million, USF budgeted for a profit of $188,200, up from about $82,000 last year.

The biggest reason? The unsold tickets the Bulls had to pay for themselves were much cheaper for this year's bowl. After paying $380,000 for empty seats in Charlotte, USF budgeted a figure of $236,500 and actually paid out less than that, according to associate athletic director Rick Costello, the chief financial officer for USF athletics.

"That was the big swing," said Costello, who said USF sold about 3,200 of the 5,100 tickets the school distributed.

USF was able to cut costs in nearly every area, spending less on transportation, housing, meals and incidentals. New line items included $10,000 to advertise ticket sales and $40,000 for commemorative tickets to be autographed by coach Jim Leavitt and sold to fans.

Quick hits

- Women's basketball coach Jose Fernandez has landed an impact midyear transfer in former Miami center Brittany Denson. Denson, a 6-foot-3 sophomore from Winter Haven, ranked 12th in the ACC with 6.9 rebounds per game and will be eligible in December.

- USF is using football's national signing day Feb. 7 to promote its $80-a-year Press Pass premium online product, promising video highlights of the signees and a live feed from Leavitt's news conference.

- Athletic director Doug Woolard is negotiating with the Tampa Sports Authority for a new lease agreement at Raymond James Stadium. A five-year renewal with a five-year option would leave open the possibility of USF opting out for an oncampus stadium in the next decade.

By the numbers

$106,000: Salary of Rod Smith as offensive coordinator for USF last season.

$100,000: Increase in the assistants salary pool each year, according to Leavitt's contract, a raise of about $10,000 per season.

$105,000: Salary Smith will make as quarterbacks coach at West Virginia.

$95,000: Salary Greg Frey made as offensive line coach at USF last year.

$145,000: Salary Frey will make in the same job at West Virginia, more than double the $70,000 he made at USF in 2005-06.

Greg Auman can be reached at auman@sptimes.com and at 813 226-3346. Check out his blog at blogs.tampabay.com/usf.