Washington Post: USF Football Growing Up Fast

August 09, 2007
Jim Leavitt
Jim Leavitt

By Eric Prisbell
Washington Post Staff Writer

Jim Leavitt still recalls the night he sat in his car like a protective parent until the wee hours of the morning, watching over -- of all things -- the new fence that surrounded his practice field. The South Florida coach could not bring himself to leave until he was certain the cement adequately dried on the posts that kept the fence upright.

"He is crazy," Paul Griffin, the former South Florida athletic director who hired Leavitt, said with affection. "But it was his field."

The decade-old memory is a symbolic one for Leavitt, who has constructed the Bulls program from the ground up since its inception 11 years ago. While his daily tasks differ now, Leavitt still operates with the same incessant gusto that he displayed during the program's infancy in the Division I-AA ranks.

That commitment has helped South Florida quickly rise through college football's hierarchy to become a legitimate BCS contender this season and a trendy national dark horse. Entering their third season in the Big East, the Bulls already can claim victories over conference heavyweights Louisville in 2005 and West Virginia last year, and are now entertaining loftier aspirations.

"We haven't reached our goal of winning the Big East the first two years," Leavitt said, "so we have failed."

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Other USF News from Thursday, Aug. 9
Grothe Named to Manning Award Watch List
Thursday Night Practice Report

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