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Football team fills two more staff positions

By ANTONYA ENGLISH

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 14, 2001


TAMPA -- One day after hiring an offensive coordinator, South Florida added two more members to its football staff.

Rod Smith, a former All-America quarterback, was hired as passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach, and Jeff Parsons is the new equipment manager.

Smith fills a position left vacant when Scott Bruning left for South Dakota. Greg Frey, who along with Bruning coached the offensive line, will continue to coach that position. Parsons replaces Jeff Cook, who left for a job at Houston.

The Bulls hired former Sarasota High and Gaither coach Mike Hobbie on Monday.

"We're very excited to bring these two coaches in," coach Jim Leavitt said. "Rod is a bright, young coach who we feel will bring great enthusiasm."

Smith was a quarterback at Glenville State College and most recently was quarterbacks coach at West Virginia. Before that he was the graduate assistant at Clemson, where he also worked with the quarterbacks. He began college coaching in 1998, when he was the quarterbacks coach for Urbana (Ohio) University. He helped with an offense that broke every school passing and total offense record.

Parsons joins USF after 10 seasons on the equipment staff with the Washington Redskins. He was responsible for the computer inventory and purchasing all football equipment.

NEW FACES, NEW PROMISE: When the men's tennis team began its season Jan. 27 against Jacksonville, coach Don Barr was not sure what kind of year he was in for.

With two seniors on the roster, Boris Babic and Alex Popovic, and five newcomers, Barr had a feeling things might be unsettled. With that many new players, Barr figured, it would take time for the new Bulls to find their comfort zone.

"Usually when you have that many new ones, you look for an up-and-down year because the players are new, they are learning the system and they have to overcome some adversity," Barr said. "But I'm very pleased with how they have handled it."

For good reason. With their 5-2 victory against Memphis on Monday, the Bulls won their sixth consecutive match and improved their record to 10-2.

The team is led by three freshmen: Martin Wetzel, who is playing No. 1 singles; Paco Antelo, No. 2; and Max Dockhorn, who plays Nos. 4 and 5. Two transfers round out the top newcomers: Jorge Escallon (Kentucky) and Eden Kleiman (Centenary).

"The core of this team is mostly new," Barr said. "I'm very pleased with how they have handled everything. They work very hard, and they are a very confident group. They are probably the most devoted group I've ever had, and it's really paying off."

USF plays arguably its biggest matches when it travels Friday to Gainesville to play Florida and Sunday to Oxford, Miss., to face Ole Miss. "I call it an opportunity," Barr said. "They are two very tough SEC teams. It's something where we can see where we are and how much further we have to go. Are we where we think we are, or do we need more work? It's a good opportunity to go out, enjoy the match and see how we compare to teams that are ranked higher than we are."

BASEBALL TODAY: The Bulls host Miami at 5 today in the second of a two-game series. The Hurricanes are ranked No. 7. Pitcher Jon Uhl is expected to start. UM is the second of three ranked opponents the Bulls face in six days. The Bulls lost three games to Arizona State last weekend, and they play three games against No. 16 Tulane this weekend.

- Antonya English covers South Florida athletics. She can be reached at (813) 226-3389 or by e-mail at english@sptimes.com.

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