Gillen to coach South Florida?

Two years after he resigned as UVA men's basketball coach– and days after he crossed paths with his former team at the NCAA Tournament in Columbus, Ohio, where he was broadcasting the games for radio network Westwood One– rumors abound that Pete Gillen may soon prowl the sideline once again. The Tampa Tribune reports that Gillen has interviewed for the head coaching position at the University of South Florida. Gillen has so far refused to comment publicly on the possibility of heading to Tampa.

Other reported candidates for the position include University of South Alabama head coach John Pelphrey (who interviewed days after Gillen), and University of Connecticut associate coach Tom Moore (who coached alongside Dave Leitao when the current UVA head man was also a Huskies' assistant).

One very vocal Gillen supporter lately has been ESPN analyst Dick Vitale. In his most recent USA Today column, Vitale writes, "Hey, South Florida is looking for a new coach. What about Pete Gillen? His knowledge of the Big East [USF's conference] from his years at Providence would be key." And pressed by the St. Petersburg Times, Vitale said of the Bulls' vacancy, "If I were in charge, the first guy I'd ask until he said no is Pete Gillen. Seton Hall went after him, couldn't get him. He has a wealth of Big East experience, the job he did at Providence, ACC experience at Virginia. He has personality plus. The media would love him, the fans, alumni. He's exactly the resume they should be looking for."

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12 comments

Groh is just a salesman. He will never be able to pull off that ACC Champ stuff. it's just rhetoric. He's been promising that since he was hired. With Welsh you get what you see, nothing more, nothing less. Groh has brought alot of flash and lights to the stadium but I don't see where he is a better of a coach than Welsh. Certainly not worth the salary and bonus' he is being paid.

Good for Pete. He is a nice fellow. Now, if we could just get George back to coach our football team. He is a nice fellow, too. A gentleman. More than can be said for our current football coach.. Run the bum outta here and bring Gentleman George back.

Gentleman George took the program as far as it could. He was a dismal failure in terms of getting the community and students involved in the program - it's hard to forget an interview where he was discussing the fans and said that he didn't think home field advantage was important.

He was a fine coach, but he never got it in terms of giving the stakeholders an actual stake in the game. George is beloved by the old alumni who take up half the seats and sit on their freaking hands throughout the game, and spend halftime complaining to one another because they can't go back to their tailgate for the third quarter. These are the people who make sure they have a "halftime ticket" so they can do just that. Those are the people who want George back. These are the people who think that George's 4-8 record in bowl games at Virginia (and they only played in 1 bowl game during Welsh's first 5 years) trumps Groh's 3-1 record in bowl games in his first 6 years. And let's not forget that half of Welsh's blow losses were blowouts - 48-14, 31-13, 63-21, 37-14. How do you lose a bowl game by 42 points?

Welsh was a fine coach. He was and is a gentleman, no question about that. But I'm sick of hearing all this crap about how he had such an awesome program - he did, if 7 wins a year keeps you happy. Al is held to a higher standard - people want a conference championship and a BCS game (special note: Please don't insult us by talking about how George took the team to a BCS game. During Welsh's tenure, Virginia played in one game that is now considered BCS - the Sugar Bowl, to which they were invited when they were #1, before tanking the rest of the season away. They went into the Sugar Bowl as an 8-3 team, and would not have been close enough to smell a BCS bowl if the current criteria had existed then.

You know where most of the noise comes from at Scott Stadium? The student sections, the end zones and upper deck - and the visitor's sections. The noise does not come from the lower deck sideline sections. Ask ANY player and they'll confirm that.

Groh is doing a fine job - it's a different era, and the ACC has changed dramatically. With Miami, Tech, and BC it will be significantly harder to win the conference title than it was in Welsh's day. The team plays very hard (even last year when youth was served), and the games are much more entertaining and enjoyable for those who are interested in yelling.

Groh went to bowls on the backs of Welsh recruits.....

GW was burned out and is the first to admit it, but I really don't see the goods AG has been saying are coming. Maybe less focus on what the students wear to games and more action on getting his coaching staff up to snuff would help. MIKE GROH needs to GO

Maybe the UVA honchos will hire someone like Frank Beamer, who, in turn will, successfully recruit thugs to play gansta-ball. Groh has accomplished nada since coming to town. Perhaps if he had spent less time running up and down the sideline cuzzing the refs, he would have won more games. I'd take George Welsh back anyday. I go to games to be entertained and, while winning championships is nice, it's not imperative for me and many others. I gave up my seasons tickets after Groh's first season as coach here because I find his behavior annoying but he'll be gone a year from now. Unfortunately, given the current acceptible standards of college football, he'll likely be replaced with someone worse (see first sentence..). Three Va Tech football players are riding along in a car. Who's driving? A state trooper.

That Pete was one sweaty dude.

It's like the joke:

How many UVA students does it take to screw in a light bulb?

4. 1 to change the light bulb, and 3 to talk about how much brighter the old light bulb was. Same thing here.

Groh hired excellent coaches that left for better jobs - every single one of them. None left because they "wanted out." I would think we'd want assistants with ambition, rather than slackers happy with their lot in life. To criticize Groh because his assistants get hired away to be head coaches and NFL coordinators is just weird.

Anybody who didn't see the improvement last year as the season progressed wasn't awake, or didn't want to see it. In the spring - IN THE SPRING - Groh said last year would be tough and it would be about rebuilding. Many good players graduated and needed to be replaced. A redshirt freshman started as QB for the second half of the season, and acquitted himself well while learning under fire. The team did not suck. If that was hitting bottom, the future looks pretty good. There are plenty of young players with several years left to contribute. To everybody who thinks Jameel Sewell is a disaster and a joke, I would like to know how you fest about Marques Hagans the first few games he played. His Senior year didn't quite turn into the disaster many predicted.

Virginia will never, never, never be able to just continually plug in All-Americans like Tech, FSU, and Miami, if only because they are required to hold all recruits to higher academic standards. For that reason alone, it's irresponsible and unrealistic to expect them to compete at the same level year after year.

t's amusing how people were perfectly happy with George Welsh's 7-win seasons and trips to bowl games that were usually lost. It's interesting how people conveniently forget that his last year as coach wasn't anything to brag about. The team was as mediocre as they come - 6-6, blown out in a bowl game (again). Groh's first year he won 5 games. Not a big drop there, was it?

Of course, let's not forget that Al has lost one bowl game. In overtime.

If people actually gave up their tickets because they find the coach annoying or because they want George back, all I can say are those seats are in better hands now, occupied by fans who want to support the school, the program, and the players. Over time, the old alumni will disappear and be replaced by people who actually cheer, and that stadium, which is almost custom-made to be loud as hell, will be on a regular basis and not just when FSU or UNC comes to town.

yes, should have said "more action on getting his coaching staff BACK up to snuff"

Al Groh is a blue collar yankee who clashes with the genteel southern persona that was (sadly enough) more prevalent at The University in past years. George fit that persona. Personally I take exception with his telling the student body what to wear and how to act at a ball game. Just because the team gets good, doesn't mean that the student body can't dress up and get drunk at ball games. The two can coexist. For all the knocks on Al though, you have to admit that he has shown some promise lately. Early in his career, he made some recruiting mistakes by only going after big name blue chip players and then having to bring on scrubs when these players opted for more high profile programs. You can look at last season and see that he is now building a program. They made a heck of a lot of progress during last season. Don't kid your self though, we aren't winning any national titles any time soon. The academic standards at Virginia are entirely too stringent for us to field a National Championship caliber football team. Better put those hopes squarely on the shoulders of Leitao and company.

While the terms "good article" and "Daily Progress" are usually mutually exclusive, there's a good article in the Daily Progress this morning about the defense. I didn't realize that it was ranked #17 overall in the country last year. 10 starters are returning, and Mike London decided to stay. That's pretty significant and bodes well for the season.

I see Groh's attempts to involve the student body much differently. He's not dictating, he's coaching - and when he got here they NEEDED coaching.

I grew up attending Redskins games at RFK, which was probably the best home field advantage in the NFL. Maybe ever. Everybody paid attention and knew how to make life difficult on the visiting team. The students here needed to learn that. Asking them to wear orange (and actually giving them the shirts) to display their support isn't a bad idea - plenty of them still dress like preppies and ignore what happens on the field. That will never change. But plenty of them are in the game and the noise from the student section has probably doubled since Al got here. If nothing else, he has helped involve the students who wanted to be involved.

Did George even ever acknowledge the student section? It's college football - gotta involve all the students you can.

Of course, this thread is actually about Gillen. I hope he does coach again - he's definitely a good coach (and a great interview), but he seemed to be snake-bit here. Everything that could have gone wrong, did.

As a former babysitter for the Gillen Family in Cincinnati, Ohio where he was the head coach at Xavier, Mr. Peter Gillen is a First Class Act. He is a wonderful man and very passionate about basketball. The family was wonderful to work for and had great times with them in Cincinnati, Ohio. Mr. Gillen has great integrity and morals that show through his coaching and family life. I fell blessed to have been a part of this family and wish them all the best in the future.
Leslie Gahr-Bailey
April 2007