USF, along with Santa Clara and St. Mary’s, is one of the founding members of the West Coast Conference (WCC). The WCC plays at the Division 1 level in the NCAA, which is the highest level of college sports in the nation. The school mascot is the Don, a man with a sword, hat, mustache, and mask wearing USF green and gold. While many incoming freshman might mistake him for the popular masked character Zorro, the Don is actually supposed to be a Spanish nobleman.
Since 1952, USF sports teams have won 42 WCC Championships and 12 NCAA Championships. Two of the NCAA titles were won by 11-time NBA Champion and USF alum Bill Russell, who led the men’s basketball team to victory in the 1955 and 1956 NCAA tournament. The 1956 season was also notable because the Dons went undefeated in the regular season, marking the first time in NCAA history a team went undefeated and won the national championship. The soccer program also has a standard of success set in place by legendary coach Stephen Negoesco, who led to Dons to four national titles from 1966-1980.
Men’s and women’s soccer will be the first sports to start this season, with a men’s game on Wednesday, Aug. 20 at UC Berkeley and a women’s game two days later at the same location.
The volleyball team is also starting its season near the start of the school year, with its first match coming on Friday, Aug. 29. The final two sports to start their seasons in August will be men’s and women’s cross country. Both will participate in the San Francisco Invitational for their first meet on Saturday, Aug. 30.
Moving on into September the men’s and women’s teams for both tennis and golf will start their fall seasons. Men’s golf’s first tournament will be the Gopher Invitational from Sept. 7-8, while the women will start a little later at the Ptarmigan Ram Fall Classic from Sept. 8-9. The men’s tennis team has its first match from Sept. 12-14 at the Napa Challenge and the women have theirs from Sept. 26-28 at the Cal Berkeley Invitational.
The last teams to start their seasons during this semester will be the men’s and women’s basketball teams. Basketball is USF’s only sport to start in the winter and conclude during March of the next year.
Last season, the men’s basketball team finished with a 20-10 record in the regular season and advanced to the WCC Championship semifinals, where they lost after going into overtime against BYU. The team lost its star Cole Dickerson to graduation, and starting point guard Avry Holmes, who transferred to Clemson. Dickerson was the team’s leading scorer with 15.1 points per game, and Holmes was just behind him with 12.5 per game. USF did bring in junior Montray Clemons, a former player at Pensacola College as well as freshmen Devin Watson, Frankie Ferrari, Chase Foster, and Nick Loew.
The women’s basketball team went 11-18 in the regular season last year, but managed to advance to the quarterfinals in the WCC tournament after a win over Loyola Marymount in the first round.
Come spring semester, the baseball and track and field teams will begin their 2015 campaigns, and tennis and golf will start their spring seasons. Sand volleyball, which became a USF sport in 2013, will get underway in March 2015.
USF Fall Sports Preview
Women’s cross country
Finished 18th at the NCAA National Championships last year (best finish in USF history)
Finished First Place at the WCC Championships last year
Head Coach: Helen Lehman-Winters (five-time WCC Women’s Cross Country Coach of the Year)
Incoming Freshman: Catherine Clohesy, Haley Dorris, Kelsey Nielsen, Elise Tello, Erin Thomas
Key Departures: Eva Krchova, Maor Tiyouri, Kailey Ulland
Key Returning Runners: Elena Burkard (junior), Kate Jamboretz (senior)
Men’s cross country
Finished 5th at the 2013 WCC Championships
Head Coach: Helen Lehman-Winters (Two-time WCC Men’s Cross Country Coach of the Year)
Incoming Freshman: Mohamad Aziz, Quentin Purtzer
Key Departures: Jimmy McManus, Gustavo Mena, Patrick Kunkel
Key Returning Runners: Eric Causey (junior), Jose Madera (senior)
2013 Record: 13-15 (9-9 WCC)
Head Coach: Gilad Doron (winningest coach in USF Volleyball history)
Incoming Freshman: Kim Gutierrez, Jessica Gaffney, Oluoma Okaro
Key Departures: Malina Terrell, Rebecca Kopilovitch, Mackenzie Murtagh, Ester de Vries
Key Players: Valentina Zaloznik (senior middle blocker), Katarina Pilepic (senior opposite/outside hitter)
2013 Record: 7-11-2 (4-7-1 WCC)
Head Coach: Eddie Soto
Incoming Athletes: Manny Padilla, Bryce Kaminski, KJ Ahlo, Jonathan Fabulich, Treston Kederer, Justin Schottenhammer, Mitchell McPartland, Kamron Crow, Ruben Duk, Aaron Lombardi, Sasha Boussina, Davi Ramos
New Staff Members: Eddie Soto (Head Coach), Alex Yi (Assistant Coach), Steven Sosa (Assistant Coach), Mike McNeill (Goalkeeper Coach), James Jaramillo (Director of Operations)
Key Departures: Vegard Karlsen, Liam Kelly, Mauricio Diaz De Leon, Michael Shaddock, Brady Jimison, Kyle MacLeod, Connor Gaal
Key Players: Miguel Aguilar (senior Forward), Chase Hauser (senior goalkeeper)
2013 Record: 6-10-4 (1-6-2 WCC)
Head Coach: Jim Millinder
Incoming Athletes: Carissa Martine, Camille Wilson, Maddy Glaser, Samantha Jehnings, Allison Arriola, Kaile Johnson, Sonja Giraud, Jan van Hasselt, Charlee Garcia, Erica Cunningham
Key Departures: Tyler Campagna, Lexie Krueger, Katherin Woodrum
Key Players: Mackenize Krieser (junior forward), Madalyn Schiffel (junior goalkeeper)