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Joey Knight, Times Staff Writer

Joey Knight

A fourth-generation Floridian, Joey Knight was born in Tampa and raised in Zephyrhills, where he still resides. He moved to the Times in July 2006 after 15 years at the Tampa Tribune, which included a seven-year stint (1997-2004) as University of Florida beat writer. He began covering the University of South Florida athletic department for the Times in 2013. A married father of three, he enjoys running, classic television and classic heavy-metal music.

Phone: (813) 310-6328

E-mail: jknight@tampabay.com

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  1. Ex-USF player Chad Dollar returns as Bulls assistant basketball coach

    Sports

    TAMPA — Former USF backup Chad Dollar, dismissed from the basketball program nearly a quarter-century ago, has become the second coaching hire of the Brian Gregory era.

    A veteran Division I assistant who spent last season at Auburn, Dollar, 45, joins former Robinson High coach (and veteran college assistant) Scott Wagers on the Bulls' staff. USF will be Dollar's 11th coaching stop in a career that also has included stints at Georgia Tech, Wichita State and LSU....

  2. Brian Bradley, Lelo Prado among Sports Club of Tampa Bay honorees

    Blog

    Former Tampa Bay Lightning all-star Brian Bradley leads a four-person class being inducted into the Sports Club of Tampa Bay Hall of Fame tonight.

    The other inductees: former USF and University of Tampa baseball coach Lelo Prado, former Jefferson High baseball coach Emeterio "Pop" Cuesta and longtime bay area TV/radio personality Jack Harris.

    Bradley, who played 13 seasons in the NHL, was acquired by the Lightning in the 1992 expansion draft and later scored the first goal in Amalie Arena (then known as the Ice Palace). He represented the Lightning in the 1993 and '94 NHL All-Star Game.

    Prado, a Cuba native who came to the U.S. with his parents, won 849 games in a 26-year coaching career, leading UT to consecutive Division II national titles in 1992 and '93. He also played catcher on the 1979 Tampa Catholic team that won the Class 3A state title at Orlando's Tinker Field.

    Cuesta compiled a 646-397-2 record in in 43 years at Jefferson, winning a region title, eight district titles and two Saladino Tournament championships. He also won more than 700 games in 27 years as coach of American Legion Post 248.

    Harris, a Tampa sports voice for nearly a half-century, has served in various broadcast capacities for nearly every major local sport franchise including the Bucs, Bandits, Rowdies, Storm, USF men's basketball and the Outback Bowl....

    Former USF and University of Tampa baseball coach Lelo Prado is among the four newest inductees into the Sports Club of Tampa Bay Hall of Fame.
  3. Former USF player Chad Dollar joins Bulls basketball staff

    Blog

    Former Bulls player Chad Dollar, dismissed from the program nearly a quarter-century ago, has become the second coaching hire of the Brian Gregory era.

    A veteran Division I assistant who spent last season at Auburn, Dollar joins former Robinson coach (and veteran college assistant) Scott Wagers on the Bulls' staff.

    “He has separated himself as one of the best recruiters in the country and at a high level during his time at Wichita State, LSU, Georgia Tech and Auburn," said Gregory, who had Dollar on his Georgia Tech staff for his entire five-year tenure (2011-16).

    Dollar and fellow junior Mike Hostetter were dismissed midway through the 1992-93 season by then-coach Bobby Paschal. The two already were on probation for team-rules violations when they were caught drinking a beer after a road game against Xavier, according to a St. Petersburg Times story.

    Dollar finished his career at Milligan College in Tennessee, and earned a sociology degree. He began his coaching career as a graduate-assistant at Gardner-Webb before evolving into a journeyman of sorts.

    USF will be his 11th coaching stop in a career that has included stints at Auburn, Georgia Tech, Wichita State and LSU....

  4. Bulls equipped for life after Marlon Mack

    Blog

    So far, six of the Bulls' seven spring practices have been staged in the mornings, but we're still not entirely sure how this team will look in the a.m.

    After Marlon.

    This time next month, Marlon Mack -- greatest tailback in USF history -- is almost certain to be the property of an NFL club. That's one sturdy, sleek dimension off the books.

    For all of Quinton Flowers' mobility, having Mack (3,609 career yards, 32 touchdowns) alongside him in the zone-read "Gulf Coast" offense kept defenses a bit more measured. Now, No. 5 is gone and Flowers probably won't be asked to run quite as much in new coordinator Sterlin Gilbert's scheme.

    Which is to say, the Bulls backfield of 2017 might lack some of the burst, brute force and bounce of recent seasons.

    But it won't lack options. 

    "We shouldn't miss a beat," fifth-year senior Darius Tice said. "We should be fine, we're gonna be fine."

    Arguably the greatest testament to how effectively Willie Taggart replenished the program's depth can be seen in the backfield, where four scholarship guys are vying for carries this spring.

    Senior D'Ernest Johnson, a second-team all-conference pick last season and arguably the team's most versatile player, is getting most of the first-team reps. But Tice, sturdy redshirt freshman Elijah Mack (6-foot, 215 pounds) and sophomore Trevon Sands all have had big moments.

    "I think the most important part of any organization is talent acquisition," said second-year assistant Shaun King, transitioning from quarterbacks to running backs coach this year....

    USF senior D'Ernest Johnson (2), training with sophomore Trevon Sands, projects as the first-team tailback this season.
  5. USF dismisses arrested safety Hassan Childs from program

    College

    USF senior safety Hassan Childs, arrested Monday for his part in a suspected road-rage incident, is no longer part of the Bulls program, first-year coach Charlie Strong announced Tuesday.

    Childs, 22, was shot after twice pointing a gun at a car carrying a family of three late Saturday night near campus, Tampa police said. It's unclear if he remained hospitalized Tuesday, but Strong said a full recovery is expected....

  6. USF veterans Ruben Guerrero, Bo Zeigler to transfer (UPDATED)

    Blog

    Count USF 7-foot senior Ruben Guerrero and veteran F Bo Zeigler as the latest players to leave the Bulls' beleaguered program.

    A source close to Guerrero -- a Spain native -- said Tuesday that he's seeking his release. Zeigler, a Stan Heath signee who just finished his redshirt junior season, announced Tuesday afternoon he has been granted his release and intends to play elsewhere as a graduate transfer....

    USF center Ruben Guerrero (33), expected to transfer, ranks seventh in program history with 121 blocked shots.
  7. Hassan Childs dismissed from USF football team

    College

    USF senior safety Hassan Childs, arrested Monday for his part in a suspected road-rage incident, is no longer part of the Bulls program, first-year coach Charlie Strong announced Tuesday.

    Childs, 22, was shot after twice pointing a gun at a car carrying a family of three late Saturday night near campus, Tampa police said. It's unclear if he remained hospitalized Tuesday, but Strong said a full recovery is expected....

    USF senior safety Hassan Childs, arrested Monday for his part in a suspected road-rage incident, is no longer part of the Bulls program, first-year coach Charlie Strong announced Tuesday. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]
  8. Former USF target Keith Dambrot headed to Duquesne

    Blog

    During college basketball's crazy season, when coaching transactions occur at a dizzying rate, some hires can knock fans over with a feather.

    Or slap them in the face, as some Bulls partisans learned Monday night.

    Veteran Akron coach Keith Dambrot, who reportedly turned down an offer to become USF's coach, has accepted a seven-year contract to coach Atlantic 10 doormat Duquesne.

    On the surface, the decision -- spurning an American Athletic Conference program for an A-10 cellar dweller -- seems peculiar. But consider the fact Dambrot's father played at Duquesne. Also consider the reported terms of Dambrot's deal.

    Seven years, $7 million. Guaranteed.

    That's slightly more lucrative than the contract signed by new Bulls coach Brian Gregory, who inked a six-year, $6.58 million deal on March 13. And while Gregory has one of the most daunting rebuilding tasks before him, Dambrot's not exactly walking into a hoops mecca.

    Duquesne hasn't reached the NCAA Tournament since 1977, and hasn't had a winning season in five years....

    Veteran Akron coach Keith Dambrot has said in published reports he turned down the USF job. Dambrot reportedly has since been hired at Duquesne.
  9. USF defensive back Hassan Childs arrested in Tampa road-rage incident

    Crime

    TAMPA — University of South Florida football player Hassan Childs has been arrested on assault and marijuana-possession charges in the wake of a suspected road-rage incident late Saturday that left him with gunshot wounds.

    Tampa police said Monday that Childs, 22, was shot after he twice pointed a gun at a car carrying a family of three.

    He faces three counts of aggravated assault and one count of misdemeanor marijuana possession. He was placed under arrest at a local hospital, where he was undergoing treatment....

    USF defensive back Hassan Childs was shot three times in the arm and torso Saturday night.
  10. Police: USF defensive back Hassan Childs shot in road rage incident

    Crime

    TAMPA — University of South Florida football player Hassan Childs, 22, was injured in a shooting Saturday night, Tampa police said.

    Tampa police spokesman Lt. Steve Lee said the shooting started as a road rage incident.

    About 11:15 p.m. Saturday, police received a call from a man later identified as Jovanni Jimenez, 26, saying that a man, later identified as Childs, pointed a gun at Jimenez and his wife and child at the Eagles Point Apartments at Tampa Palms, 14551 N 46th St....

    Childs was shot three times and was in stable condition.
  11. USF defensive back Hassan Childs injured in shooting

    Blog

    USF senior safety Hassan Childs remains in stable condition after being injured in a shooting overnight that stemmed from an apparent road-rage incident, according to Tampa police.

    At about 11:15 p.m. Saturday, police received a call from a man later identified as Jovanni Jimenez, 26, saying that a man, later identified as Childs, pointed a gun at Jimenez and his wife and child at the Eagles Point Apartments at Tampa Palms, 14551 N 46th St....

    Veteran USF defensive back Hassan Childs (22) was injured overnight in a shooting in Tampa.
  12. Former Robinson coach Scott Wagers hired at USF

    Blog

    New USF men's basketball coach Brian Gregory took the first step in making good on his vow to bolster the Bulls' recruiting locally, hiring former Robinson High coach Scott Wagers as an assistant.

    The first announced hire of the Gregory regime, Wagers ironically served as an assistant to former Bulls interim coach Murry Bartow at East Tennessee State. In all, he has spent the last 17 years at the college level with stops at ETSU (2000-13), Lamar (2013-14) and Jacksonville (2014-17)....

  13. USF spring football: Day 6 observations

    Blog

    Six quick reads from Day 6 of USF's spring drills:

    * During the team's final 11-on-11 session Saturday, we kept track of the time between several plays, from the moment the previous play was whistled dead until the ensuing snap. The time ranged from 16 to 27 seconds.

    "I think the rule is, 'as fast as possible,'" new defensive tackles coach Sean Cronin said. "So as soon as they can get it set and snapped, I think that's what they're gonna do. We want it to be unrealistic. We want (the defensive players), when they get into a game against a fast-tempo offense, to seem slow to them."

    * On a related note, the Bulls no longer do post-practice wind sprints, a staple of the Willie Taggart era. But as DT Deadrin Senat noted, when you're scrimmaging at such a brisk tempo, the conditioning is done during practice.

    * Redshirt freshman CB Mike Hampton, a former Hillsborough High standout, had two interceptions during the 11-on-11 session, the latter an easy catch of a wobbly Quinton Flowers throw. Hampton also jumped a route and picked off a short pass intended for Plant alumnus Jordan Reed.

    * During five goal-line possessions -- ball placed at 1 1/2-yard line -- at the end of practice, the offense scored twice before the defense held on the last three. On the first snap, Flowers jogged in untouched on a simple bootleg to the left, then found Marquez Valdes-Scantling -- being covered by Ronnie Hoggins -- on a slant route.

    * The defense is really emphasizing swarming -- or straining -- to the ball. In fact, Cronin said the plan is to rotate linemen extensively so ball pursuit remains relentless.

    "So we expect them, because we're keeping 'em fresh, to play really, really, really, really hard and to strain on every play," Cronin said. "If they can play three plays, they can play three. If they can play five, eight, whatever that number is, we're finding that out right now."

    * Okay, this wasn't an observation per se, but we were told Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater -- who played for Charlie Strong at Louisville -- was spotted during the early moments of Saturday's practice. Bridgewater and QB Quinton Flowers also are friends....

    Former Jefferson High star Juwuan Brown and his fellow defensive linemen likely will rotate extensively during the 2017 season.
  14. USF spring football: Day 5 observations

    Blog

    Five quick reads from the fifth day of Bulls spring drills:

    * Though the offensive line remains a mix-and-match proposition, redshirt freshman G Michael Wiggs clearly has made an impression. For the second consecutive workout, Wiggs got significant reps at right guard.

    "He's an athletic kid," first-year offensive line coach Matt Mattox said. "We're getting him to just continue to bend and play physical, but he's doing a really good job and he's learned his plays and what he's got to do, so it's giving him that chance to move up a little bit."

    Thursday's first-team o-line primarily featured Wiggs, LT Eric Mayes, LG Glen Bethel, C Cameron Ruff and RT Marcus Norman. Senior Jeremi Hall, who started every game at left guard last season, still is rehabbing a minor leg injury.

    * Remember LB Jimmy Bayes? The heralded 2014 signee from Immokalee, who has appeared in six total games, darted through a gap and lit up TB Elijah Mack during goal-line work at the end of practice. Starting from the 1 1/2-yard line, the offense needed four plays to push it in.

    * Barring injury, it's pretty clear the Bulls again will have the conference's best tight-end tandem. The ongoing duel between junior Kano Dillon (6-foot-5, 267 pounds) and redshirt sophomore Mitchell Wilcox (6-4, 250) could rage throughout the fall.

    On Thursday, QB Quinton Flowers found Dillon over the middle -- behind a defender -- for a touchdown of roughly 50 yards.

    "I would say for the most part, Kano's dang near as big as anybody in the nation, as far as guys he's gonna go against," Mattox said....

    New USF offensive line coach Matt Mattox (right center, beard) addresses his group at the end of Thursday's practice.
  15. Here's a Shocker: Wichita State may join AAC

    Blog

    Less than 24 hours after Brian Gregory's formal introduction at USF, a report has surfaced that could make his long-term rebuilding job even harder.

    If that's possible.

    ESPN's Andy Katz reported Thursday that Wichita State would accept an invitation to become the American Athletic Conference's 12th basketball member if the league decides in the near future to extend the offer.

    The Shockers, currently the crown jewel of the Missouri Valley Conference, have won 30 or more games four of the last five seasons, reaching two Sweet 16s and a Final Four during that span.

    AAC spokesperson Chuck Sullivan said the league currently has no comment on the report, but Katz -- citing an unnamed source -- said the AAC could decide on Wichita State soon.

    If the Shockers -- who don't have football -- were to join, they would begin AAC play in 2018-19. Under NCAA rules, if a conference takes a basketball-only member, it must take all of its Olympic/non-revenue sports.

    Katz reports it would take 75 percent of the current AAC membership to ratify such a move.

    The AAC received two men's NCAA Tournament bids this season (Cincinnati, SMU), but UCF has reached the NIT's final four in New York City. If Memphis and Connecticut get back on track and the Shockers join, the "Power Six" narrative AAC commissioner Mike Aresco has consistently pushed would have more merit.

    At least from November to March....

    Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall has led the Shockers to four 30-win seasons in the last five years.