Jeff Scott changed the Bulls’ culture, assisted in facility upgrades, and reorganized the roster with a highly regarded transfer class during his 35 months as USF’s football coach. He brought in players who avoided problems and was considered a good man in a field where decency is in short supply. He also served as a fundraising partner at a pivotal point in the history of the program.
But Scott’s failure at the most fundamental aspect of his $2.4 million-a-year job—coaching—led to his dismissal by the Bulls on Sunday.
Among major-college coaches who lasted longer than one year, his 4-26 record over two or more seasons is the worst in state history. Scott appeared too much like a first-time college head coach who was never the primary play caller during his championship-winning years as a Clemson assistant. His teams appeared unprepared and out of sync.
The on-field results “fell significantly below our standards” even though he performed a lot of things correctly, according to athletic director Michael Kelly.
As a buyout, Scott will get at least $192,000, or 20 weeks of his base pay. The USF Foundation owes money, but that sum does not include it; Charlie Strong, his predecessor, earned around $3.1 million.
Scott, however, isn’t solely to blame for the program’s decline. He became USF’s seventh head coach in 12 years when the Bulls hired him away from Dabo Swinney’s Tigers staff after the 2019 season. Additionally, the program has gone through multiple presidents and athletic directors, making institutional alignment problematic. The Bulls lacked adequate facilities. Their culture was in shambles.
The 2020 coronavirus pandemic delayed Scott’s first offseason, delaying the turnaround process and explaining a 1-8 debut campaign. Scott entered a new locker room in 2021, both literally (due to a $3.3 million remodeling) and metaphorically (because of roster turnover). UF finished 2-10.