Willie Taggart: Day 1 on the Job
The voice of USF Athletics routinely puts down his radio headset and picks up the pen to share his perspective on the history of USF Athletics.
Louk has been broadcasting games for 29 years and is the resident historian in the Athletics Department hallways.
Voice of the USF Bulls
TAMPA - Willie Taggart 1, Press Conference 0.
Not much doubt about that final score was there?
To be honest, most head coaches have a good first day with the media. Coach Taggart's predecessors did as well. A coaching change is generally a time of optimism, of hope for the future. But this one did feel a little different.
Oh, he gave the media plenty of quotes to run with, and he showed the energy that will be needed, if not mandatory, to win. He wore his emotions on his sleeve at times, which I think the Tampa Bay area will embrace as well.
The room was packed as you would expect, but the makeup of the room gave us some hints of times to come. Lots of media of course, and some USF staff. Current players, coaches, and members of coach Taggart's family. But, also a contingent of high school coaches, which was a bit unique and encouraging. Members of the Sarasota/Bradenton community were there in force. And while there were familiar faces among the fans, there were also people in USF gear that have definitely not been regulars at USF events. All in all, a good indication of the cross section of support that will now be available to the program.
I got a chance to do a five-minute-or-so interview with coach Taggart, which now appears on GoUSFBulls.com. It came in a private setting, after the other cameras had stopped rolling, after the handshakes and hellos, and when things were significantly calmer. As I'd hoped, the quiet setting put Taggart in a somewhat more reflective mood.
We talked a little "X's and O's" to be sure; everyone wants to know what his teams will be like on the field. But we also spoke about Willie Taggart the person; how he sees himself, and how he expects to be perceived by Bulls fans.
We talked briefly about the day he ran for 206 yards against the Bulls, but we talked in depth about his feelings about leaving Western Kentucky as it prepares for its very first bowl game. The emotion in his voice is notable, and very sincere.
All in all, I hope the interview shows a side of the new coach that most have not seen yet.
So, he's started. Whispers, tweets, and blog reports have already begun. He's been in this house. He saw that prospect. The next few weeks will be fun to watch.
I can't wait to get with him to start planning his radio and television shows, but I know the best chance I have of seeing him for a bit will be if I happen to drive past him on the interstate. Doubt he'll be in the office much.
In the meantime, let's support the guy. That means buying or renewing season tickets. It means conveying your excitement and optimism to your friends. We are off and running and we all have seats on Coach T's bus.
And there's a game in less than nine months.
The voice of the Bulls, Jim Louk, offers his perspective of USF Athletics, both past and present.
For 29 years, Jim Louk has been the voice of USF Athletics.
Louk came to USF in 1983 as the radio play-by-play announcer for the USF men's basketball team and served as the lead voice until the conclusion of the 1996-97 season. He then made the transition to football in USF's inaugural 1997 campaign, and still serves as the team's play-by-play announcer today. Louk will come into the 2012 football season having broadcast every Bulls football game in history - a span of 177 games.
He has handled USF TV play by play broadcasts on SportsChannel, Fox Sports Florida, and Brighthouse Sports Network. His career includes over 1,500 play by play broadcasts of USF events, including football, men's and women's basketball, baseball, softball, men's and women's soccer and volleyball.
This series of articles for GoUSFBulls.com began in 2010.
A native of Rochester, N.Y., Louk is a 1979 graduate of the University of Bridgeport where he earned a bachelor's degree in journalism. Louk and his wife Barbara reside in Lutz. Their son Ross is a sophomore in college.