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USF Board Boss Blasts Holtz, Then Preaches Patience

WUSF 89.7 News

We may have a better idea what prompted University of South Florida Athletic Director Doug Woolard to speak out earlier this week with his tentative support for embattled football coach Skip Holtz.

Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times reports Board of Trustees chair John Ramil sent an email to USF President Judy Genshaft's chief of staff immediately after this past Saturday's 37-26 loss to Temple--an email that simply read "Disgusting and unacceptable. We have major problems with our football program."

That note was forwarded to Woolard, with an attachment: "Hope things are better. Make sure you have conversation with the Board Chair. Thanks."

When reached by the Times on Thursday, Ramil, the president/CEO of TECO Energy, had appeared to soften his stance just a bit.

"I was expressing the same feeling of frustration as all the USF fans are feeling," Ramil said Thursday afternoon by phone. "I personally want what's best for all the USF programs, whether academic or sports. I also believe in candid feedback, and I think the President and the athletic director and the coaches need to have that kind of feeling of feedback from all the fans. I've given them feedback on good stuff, too." "I don't coach football. I don't know what the answers are," Ramil said Thursday. "This Saturday was a pretty complete loss, with all three parts of the team failing in critical points. I don't know that it was a tipping point, but a time for me to say my piece as a fan. "When you look at the season so far and that last game, we had challenges on offense, challenges on defense, and at the very end in the most glaring way, challenges on special teams (with a blocked go-ahead field goal). We need to be looking at things differently, doing some things differently. I think it's gotten everybody's attention. ... I have my fingers crossed for them. I'm rooting for them. I hope they do find some answers and we can do a whole lot better in the second half of the season."

Woolard released a statement in support of Holtz Tuesday, saying the football program, like the university's other 18 other sports programs, would be evaluated at the end of the season. "We'll identify where we are as a football program at that time and continue to build from there," Woolard said,  a sentiment Ramil agreed with.

"Right now, given everything in balance, while I wasn't happy after the game, I think I should be patient. I think we all should be patient," Ramil told the Times.

Woolard's statement also defended the contract extension through the 2017 season given to Holtz last year, a move that Ramil also backed in light of other schools reportedly expressing interest in Holtz.

The Bulls, who have lost four games in a row and 10 of its last 11 Big East games, are off this weekend. Their next game is on Saturday, October 20th, at #18 ranked Louisville.

Mark Schreiner is the assistant news director and intern coordinator for WUSF News.
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