Women's Basketball Coaching Staff
Jose Fernandez
Head Coach
Coach Info:
Position: Head Coach
Experience: 5 Years
Phone: (813) 974-7472
Email: josef@usf.edu

Brick by brick. For 17 seasons, University of South Florida head coach Jose Fernandez has been laying the groundwork for the Bulls to grow into a perennial top-25 program. Under his guidance, USF has transformed from a program with only five winning seasons to a staple in the NCAA Tournament.  A coach known for his recruiting connections and incredible work ethic, Fernandez quickly created a culture of excellence after taking the helm in November of 2000. 

Fernandez has watched his team reach new milestones, including five consecutive 20-win seasons since the 2012 season. The Bulls have reached the NCAA Tournament five times, including three-straight trips since 2014. Off the court, the program boasts a 100 percent graduation rate and a perfect 1000 Academic Progress Report score awarded by the NCAA. 

Looking to make history in his 18th season as head coach, Fernandez and the Bulls' senior class looks to reach the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time in as many years. The senior class would become the first in program history to reach four NCAA Tournaments and only a handful of groups across all sports to achieve the feat. 

In the 2016-17 season, the Bulls reached 20-wins faster than any other team in program history and tied the most successful nonconference record prior to the start of The American action. For the second straight year, Fernandez coached the league's Freshman of the Year and a unanimous conference first team selection. Already the winningest coach in USF Basketball history, Fernandez reached 300 career wins January 17, 2017 vs. Memphis. 

The Bulls entered 2016 ranked in the AP Poll for 22-consecutive weeks and ended the 2015-16 season in the top-25 for the second straight year. Along with coaching the programs first All-American, Fernandez lifted the team to new heights in 2015-16 and achieved the highest ranking in program history, No. 15 in both the AP and USA Today coaches' polls. USF made its 12th postseason run in 13 seasons and its fourth NCAA Tournament appearance in program history. 

Fernandez, who was officially named head coach on Nov. 14, 2000 - just seven months after coming to USF - has led the Bulls in an amazing turnaround in a short period of time. Under his guidance, USF has advanced to 12 postseason tournaments, including four NCAA Tournament berths, one of which being the programs first-ever NCAA Tournament during the 2005-06 season. Fernandez also led USF to its first-ever NCAA Tournament victory with a 71-70 win over Texas Tech in 2013, and won again vs. LSU in the first round of the 2015 NCAA Tourney. In his third NCAA Tournament in four years, Fernandez took the Bulls back to the second round, defeating No. 22 Colorado State 48-45 in Los Angeles, Calif. 

The Bulls had a season to remember in 2015-16, returning to the NCAA Tournament for the third time in four years. The graduating senior class left Tampa Bay as the only class to make a postseason tournament four times, and back-to-back trips to the American Athletic Conference Championship. Fernandez coached the program's first WBCA All-American, Courtney Williams, and the second-highest drafted Bull in USF Athletics history. Williams was selected No. 8 in the WNBA draft by the Phoenix Mercury. Fernandez also guided Kitija Laksa to the program's second conference Freshman of the Year honor. Laksa was named the American Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year after an amazing debut with the Bulls.

Fernandez posted his and the program's sixth 20-win season (and third consecutive) in 2014-15, making history with two Top 25 rankings in the AP Poll en route to the best record in school history, 27-8. Fernandez and the Bulls reached a conference championship for the first time in school history, grabbed the best NCAA Tournament seed in school history as a sixth seed, and hosted the first and second rounds for the first time in school history. Fernandez coached an All-Region player for the third time in three years, and coached Courtney Williams to become one of the 12 Wade Trophy Finalists in the nation. Williams, a senior in 2015-16, is projected to become the fourth of Fernandez' players to be drafted to the WNBA in the last seven seasons, and third in the last four.

USF just missed the NCAA Tournament in 2013-14, losing to only Louisville and UConn in January, February and March before making a deep run in the NCAA Tournament. Fernandez came one game shy of playing for his second WNIT Championship as the Bulls fell to Rutgers at home April 2 on the heels of an in-game injury to the Bulls' point guard. The 23-13 season went down as a major success, setting the stage for the 2014-15 run. Inga Orekhova became the highest collegiate draft pick in USF history, going 18th overall to the Atlanta Dream.

The 2012-13 season helped USF turn a corner in the eyes of the nation. The Bulls made just their second NCAA Tournament appearance, earning a berth with 21 regular-season wins, including back-to-back wins over No. 12 Louisville on the road and No. 21 Syracuse at home. The Bulls traveled to Texas Tech in the first round and defeated the Red Raiders 71-70 for their first ever NCAA Tournament victory, then lost to eventual Final Four team California in overtime, after a thrilling second-half comeback. Fernandez was the only coach in the nation to play all four Final Four teams in 2012-13, defeating Louisville, losing to Notre Dame and California in overtime, and also facing UConn in the regular season. Earlier in the year, Coach Fernandez picked up win No. 200 of his career when USF defeated Detroit 74-60. Following the 2012-13 season, Andrea Smith was drafted by the Connecticut Sun, adding to the trail of post-college success Fernandez' players have enjoyed.

USF just missed the NCAA Tournament in 2011-12, as Fernandez guided USF to 19 wins despite having no true home games as the Sun Dome underwent renovations. Fernandez' team advanced to the third round of the WNIT Tournament before falling to James Madison.

The 2008-09 season was a season that would make people sit up and take notice, as Fernandez guided the Bulls to their most successful campaign in its history. USF would register a school-record 27 wins while also finishing at least .500 (8-8) for the third time in the program's four years in the BIG EAST Conference.

The Bulls logged plenty of regular season highlights, including a second-place finish in the Paradise Jam in St. Thomas, U.S.V.I. with wins over Iowa, in overtime, and Texas Tech. The only loss during the event would come at the hands of No. 3 ranked California. USF also defeated Rutgers on the road for the first time ever, and handed DePaul a crucial setback at the end of the season.

After advancing to its sixth-consecutive postseason tournament, the Bulls would the make school history going 5-0 in the WNIT en route to the title. After defeating Florida Gulf Coast in overtime and Southeastern Conference foe Mississippi at home, USF would embark on a three-game, 10-day road odyssey that would begin in western New York with an 80-66 win at St. Bonaventure, then an 82-65 victory at Boston College. The Bulls would then head west to the nation's heartland where they would hand Kansas a 75-71 loss in the WNIT finals in front of a record crowd of 16,113 at historic Phog Allen Fieldhouse, capping the best season in the program's history.

During the 2007-08 campaign, the Bulls posted a 16-16 record and advanced to their fifth-consecutive postseason event facing Florida Gulf Coast in the WNIT.

The year didn't go without its share of thrilling nights as the “Green and Gold” knocked off No. 25 DePaul, 78-73, and defeated Syracuse in the BIG EAST Tournament first round, 68-67 in overtime, in what was looked at as one of the event's most exciting games. The Orange had just dropped out of the Top 25 prior to their loss to the Bulls.

During the 2006-07 season Fernandez would once again record several milestones in his and the program's history. On Dec. 28, 2006 with a 77-62 win over Vermont in the first round of the Saint Joseph's University Hawk Classic, Fernandez became the women's basketball team's career leader in wins surpassing former Bulls' head coach and former Charlotte Sting leader Trudi Lacey.

Later in the year he would reach a mark that had been a long time coming when he recorded his 100th career win in the Bulls' final win of the season, a 66-49 win over Coppin State on March 19, 2007 in the second round of the WNIT. In addition, that appearance in the WNIT was the program's fourth straight for USF, a first for either basketball program at the school.

The 2005-06 season was the season that the Miami native etched his and his program's name in the history books at USF. Although they fell just short of the win total of the previous year, the Bulls recorded a memorable season that was capped off by the team advancing to its first-ever NCAA Tournament. USF was seeded ninth in the Bridgeport Region and faced No. 8 seed Southern Cal at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA.

On their season-long road to “The Big Dance,” the Bulls defeated nationally ranked DePaul (79-77 OT) and Notre Dame (68-64 OT). When all of the dust settled, USF boasted a 19-12 record and a 9-7 slate, which was good enough for a share of sixth place in its first year in the BIG EAST Conference.

During the 2004-05 campaign, Fernandez guided his program to heights never seen before at USF - at least for the time being. The Bulls recorded their best record in school history at the time (21-11) and also set a new school mark for wins in a season and wins in conference play (9-5). The team also advanced to its second-consecutive postseason WNIT, which included the program's first-ever victory with a win at home over Florida.

Fernandez turned the corner with the program during the 2003-04 season, as the Bulls recorded what was, then, the most successful season of his coaching career. The 33rd ranked class included freshmen Jessica Dickson, Nalini Miller and Rachael Sheats, along with junior college transfer Anedra Gilmore. That class also proved to pay dividends, and paid them quickly. Along with this core group of newcomers and veteran returnees, Fernandez helped the Bulls advance to the postseason for the first time in school history when they faced Richmond in the first round of the Women's National Invitation Tournament (WNIT).

Fernandez got his start in coaching while working on his associate's degree at Miami-Dade CC Kendall - where he earned his degree in 1991. Fernandez served as a student assistant coach for the men's basketball team and was immediately thrown into the fray with on-floor coaching, scouting, and most importantly, overseeing recruiting correspondence and getting his name out in front of coaches around the state.

It was at Miami-Dade that Fernandez met Cesar Odio, who not only saw his tremendous potential and hired him as a student assistant, but then promoted him to a full-time assistant coach upon his graduation in 1991. He would stay at Miami-Dade for one season (1991-92) before becoming the assistant boys basketball coach at Miami's Sunset High School (1992-94).

Following his two seasons at Sunset, Fernandez and Odio would renew acquaintances when Odio was tabbed head men's basketball coach at Barry University in Miami Shores, FL (1994-96). Fernandez came along as Odio's top assistant and immediately established himself as a coach that had a sharp eye for talent and potential. During his brief two-year stay at Barry, Fernandez helped the Buccaneers to consecutive winning seasons, after the program only produced just two in the first 10 years, and a combined 34-21 record.

Fernandez entered the world of girls basketball in 1996 when he secured his first head-coaching job at Miami's Lourdes Academy. During his three seasons at Lourdes, Fernandez led the Bobcats to a stellar 83-16 (.838) record and a trip to the state 5A championship game in 1998 where they finished as the runner-up. In addition to his coaching responsibilities at Lourdes, Fernandez established valuable roots among Florida and high school coaches from around the nation as director and founder of the successful Miami Suns AAU program.

Fernandez would then break into collegiate women's basketball when he returned to Barry for his second of two tours of duty at the school. In his second stint, he served one year (1999-00) as the top assistant coach for the Buccaneers. Although it was just one season, Fernandez helped Barry record the second most wins in the program's history as the Buccaneers posted a 22-8 record and the program's second-best slate ever in the Sunshine State Conference at 10-4. The team's 22 wins that season is still just one of three 20-wins campaign's for Barry since the women's basketball team started competing during
the 1988-89 season.

After earning his stripes in high school basketball and in Division II, Fernandez was named assistant women's basketball coach at USF in April of 2000 and then interim head coach in October of 2000. On December 14, 2000, Fernandez was officially tabbed head coach of the Bulls.

It was just the opportunity that he had been waiting for, and frankly deserved. He quickly used his recruiting connections - both in and out of the state of Florida - to help make USF a household name to scholastic players looking to play collegiately.

Fernandez's first Division I recruiting class - the 2001-02 class - was ranked No. 36 in America by the All Star Girls Report, the highest ranked class in the history of the women's basketball program. That class provided instant dividends for USF as the Bulls would open the 01-02 campaign 7-0 en route to their first winning season in four years (14-13) after posting a meager 4-24 ledger the previous year. In that seven-game stretch, the Bulls defeated in-state rival and then BIG EAST Conference member Miami before falling to Florida for their first loss of the year.

Fernandez followed his original class with a group that was tabbed 40th in America as it entered the 2002-03 campaign, while the 2003-04 class was slated as the 33rd best by the All Star Girls Report.

Fernandez believes to be the best you have to play the best, and in his time at USF the team has done just that. The Bulls' schedule has included some of the biggest teams in women's basketball. Baylor, Michigan State, LSU, Miami, Florida, Florida State, Indiana, Connecticut (prior to USF joining the BIG EAST), Georgia, Iowa State, Arizona State, Kansas State, UNLV, Duke, Nebraska, Texas and Wake Forest, to name a few, have helped to make up USF's non-conference schedule the past 17 years. The team's 2005-06 slate proved to be the toughest in school history. The Bulls faced eventual Final Four participants No. 7/8 North Carolina, No. 13/15 Michigan State, and No. 3/3 LSU all prior to their conference schedule, their first in the BIG EAST.

After graduating from Miami-Dade Kendall, Fernandez earned his bachelor's degree in physical education in 1994 from Florida International University. Along with his coaching duties at the beginning of his professional career, Fernandez also taught physical education at Miami's Coral Reef Senior High School, Southwest Senior High School and Hialeah Middle School.

Fernandez and his wife Tonya live in Tampa with their daughters Sydnie, Alex, Taylor, Brianna and Brooke.

University of South Florida
00-01 4-24 4-12 0-12 0-0 1-15 3-9  
01-02 14-13  9-6 5-7  0-0  4-10 10-3   
02-03 7-20  7-8   0-12 0-0  2-12 5-8   
03-04 14-15 9-6 5-8 0-1 7-7 7-8 WNIT 1st Rd 
04-05 21-11 13-2 4-6 4-3 9-5 12-6 WNIT 2nd Rd 
NCAA 1st Rd
4-6 3-3 9-7 15-5 WNIT 2nd Rd
3-8 3-2 5-11 11-5
WNIT 1st Rd
3-2 8-8 19-2 WNIT Champions
9-8 5-7 1-1 6-10 9-6
WNIT 1st Rd
2-10 2-2 3-13 9-6  
WNIT 3rd Rd
NCAA 2nd Rd
WNIT Final 4
12-3 9-3 6-2 15-3 12-5 NCAA 2nd Rd
15-1 6-6 3-3 14-4 10-6 NCAA 2nd Rd 
10-4 8-2 6-3 11-5 13-4 NCAA 1st Rd
Organization Position
WBCA Conference Captain (BIG EAST)
WBCA Conference Captain (American Athletic)
BIG EAST President of Head Coaches
American President of Head Coaches
State Farm All America Team Committee Member
USA Top 25 Coaches' Poll Voter
USF Title IX Committee Member
WBCA Defensive Player of the Year Award
WBCA Coach of the Year Award
WBCA  Coaches All-America Committee Member 
WBCA  Coaches All-America Committee Chair
2000-pres. USF Head Coach
Oct. 2000 - Dec. 2000 USF Interim Head Coach
April 2000 - Oct. 2000 USF Assistant
1999-2000 Barry Assistant
1996-99 Lourdes Academy Head Coach
1996-99 Miami Suns (AAU) Head Coach
1994-96 Barry (Men) Assistant
1992-94 Sunset HS (Boys) Assistant
1991-92 Miami-Dade CC Kendall (Men) Assistant
1989-91 Miami-Dade CC Kendall (Men) Student Assistant
First USF Game
Nov. 19, 2000 (season opener), at Arizona State, (L) 39-74
First USF Win
Nov. 21, 2000, vs. UCF, 67-58
First Conference USA Win
Feb. 11, 2001, vs. Southern Miss, 55-52
First BIG EAST Conference Win
Dec. 7, 2005, vs. No. 11 DePaul, 79-77 (OT)
First American Athletic Conferece Win
Dec. 31, 2013, at Houston, 77-54
100th Career Win
March 19, 2007, vs. Coppin State, 66-49
200th Career Win
December 31, 2012 vs. Detroit, 74-60
300th Career Win
January 17, 2017 vs. Memphis, 79-49
Wins Over Top 25 Teams
Jan. 20, 2002, at No. 23 Tulane, 69-64
Feb. 2, 2004, vs. No. 18 TCU, 89-84 (2OT)
Dec. 7, 2005, vs. No. 11 DePaul, 79-77 (OT)
Jan. 28, 2006, at No. 21 Notre Dame, 68-64 (OT)
Jan. 16, 2007, vs. No. 15 Louisville, 74-58
Feb. 25, 2008, vs. No. 25 DePaul, 78-73
Feb. 20, 2013, at No. 12/11 Louisville, 73-62
Feb. 25, 2013, vs. No. 21/18 Syracuse, 68-66
Mar. 19, 2016, vs. No. 22 Colorado State, 48-45
March 5, 2017, vs. No. 25/21 Temple, 63-58

• Florida International University, 1994
   B.S., physical education

• Named Head Coach: Nov. 14, 2000
• Born: Nov. 18, 1971, in Miami, Fla.
• High School: Miami Southwest Senior HS
• Family: Wife, Tonya, Daughters, Sydnie, Alex, Taylor, Brianna and Brooke