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Wednesday, Nov 26, 2014
USF Bulls

New Bulls assistant well connected

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First-year head coach Orlando Antigua completed his men’s basketball staff at the University of South Florida, hiring a chief assistant with leadership experience, X-and-O savvy and plenty of connections within the state of Florida.

Former Florida International head coach and current Ole Miss assistant Sergio Rouco was hired Wednesday. Rouco, 53, who will make an annual salary of $185,000, joins Rod Strickland ($175,000), Oliver Antigua ($155,000) and director of basketball operations Jerry McCullough ($80,000). The remainder of the $290,000 salary pool will go to the video coordinator and assistant to the head coach.

Rouco was FIU’s head coach from 2004-09, going 55-94 before his firing. He served two stints as FIU assistant, mixed with high school coaching stints at Miami Loyola and Miami Norland. For the past three seasons, he was Andy Kennedy’s top assistant at Ole Miss and he spent one season (2003-04) on the staff of UTEP’s NCAA tournament team.

“Sergio has over 25 years of coaching experience at the Division I level,’’ Orlando Antigua said. “He has great recruiting connections not just in the state of Florida, but around the world, which will greatly benefit the program.’’

Strong finish

Last week’s American Athletic Conference Outdoor Track and Field meet was haunted by two days of heavy rain at the University of South Florida. But on the final Sunday, when the bright weather came out, USF’s outlook turned sunny.

USF senior Courtney Anderson (women’s high jump) and sophomore Matthew O’Neal (men’s triple jump) won their events to finish first-team All-AAC.

Anderson, a perennial second-place finisher at the conference level, won in dramatic fashion. As she lined up for her third attempt at 5 feet, 91⁄4 inches, time expired, so she fouled. A jump-off ensued with Houston’s Cassie Wiley and Anderson cleared 5-91⁄4, her best effort of the season.

Meanwhile, O’Neal, an All-American from last season who was ninth nationally and held the NCAA’s top distance until two weeks ago, won the triple jump at 52 feet, 71⁄2 inches

USF’s second-place finishers included Giscard Petion (men’s high jump, 6-83⁄4); Shane Lewis (men’s triple jump, 50-51⁄4) and the men’s 4x100 relay team of Derrick Hopkins, Chareif Lewis, Dae Young Yoon and Alfred Higgs (40.73).

USF’s third-place finishers included Chase Meyers (men’s high jump, 6-63⁄4); Christopher Grinley (men’s 110 hurdles, 14.11); Paul Barrett (men’s 400 hurdles, 52.56); and Hopkins (men’s 100, 10.77).

Overall, the USF men were fifth and the women seventh.

Tennis honors

USF tennis doubled up on the AAC’s highest honor. Sophomore Roberto Cid was named AAC men’s player of the year, while senior Loreto Alonso-Martinez claimed the women’s honor. Matt Hill was named the league’s men’s coach of the year.

Cid, ranked No. 45 nationally, was 21-4 overall and 19-3 in dual matches this spring. He’s 7-4 against ranked opponents. Meanwhile, USF’s Oliver Pramming was named to the All-AAC singles team, while Cid and partner Sasha Gozun made the doubles squad.

Hill guided the Bulls to an 18-6 mark and their first NCAA tournament appearance since 2009, along with a school-record No. 22 national ranking.

On the women’s side, Alonso-Martinez is 18-5 with a 15-match winning streak. Meanwhile, USF’s Kayla Rizzolo and Olaya Garrido-Rivas also were named to the All-AAC women’s team.

Bulls bits

Football senior defensive tackle Luke Sager was named to the National Football Foundation’s Hampshire Honor Society, which is comprised of players who maintained a cumulative 3.2 grade-point average or greater throughout their college career. Sager, who earned a master’s degree in entrepreneurship (3.54 GPA) in December, was a three-time academic all-conference selection. … Steve Walz, assistant athletic director/sports medicine, was named USF’s outstanding staff member in athletics. Each year, USF presents the honor to a staff member from all areas of the campus.

jjohnston@tampatrib.com

(813) 259-7353

Twitter: @JJohnstonTBO

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