TAMPA, DEC. 4, 2022 – University of South Florida Vice President of Athletics Michael Kelly today announced his selection of 2022 Broyles Award finalist Alex Golesh as the sixth head coach in USF football history.
A nationally recognized recruiter and play-caller for the nation’s highest-scoring and most-explosive offense, Golesh comes to USF after serving as offensive coordinator/tight ends coach at the University of Tennessee the last two seasons, helping propel the Vols from three wins (3-7) the season before his arrival to 10 wins this year and a No. 7 College Football Playoff ranking. Golesh implemented a tempo-based offense at UT that led to dramatic improvement, shattered Vols’ records and has seen UT rank No. 1 in the nation in scoring (47.33), yards per game (538.1), points per possession (3.24) and yards per play (7.35) in 2022. Tennessee is the only team to average over 300 yards passing and 200 yards rushing on the 2022 season, and has scored 40-plus points in 15 games since his arrival.
The success has earned him recognition as a finalist for the 27th Broyles Award, honoring the top assistant coach in college football, which will be presented Tuesday afternoon in Little Rock, Ark.
Golesh will be introduced to Bulls Nation and media Monday at 11:30 a.m. at the USF Alumni Center on the Tampa campus. The event will be open to the public.
In his 20th season in collegiate coaching, Golesh has worked his way up through the collegiate ranks while serving on the staffs of eight FBS programs and has been a key recruiter at several of those stops, helping to lead program turnarounds at Tennessee, Iowa State, Illinois and Toledo.
Notably, he served as tight ends coach/recruiting coordinator for head coach Matt Campbell’s first four seasons at Iowa State (2016-19) where he helped secure and develop the talent that led the Cyclones to a turn-around from a 3-9 season before their arrival to a run of five-straight bowl games (of which he was part of three) and an eventual 9-3, Fiesta Bowl season the year after his departure. Golesh helped secure the four highest-ranked recruiting classes in program history, with all four ranking in the top 50 and two in the top 40.
While serving as a position coach (tight ends/running backs) and recruiting coordinator for four seasons at Illinois (2012-15), he helped the program go from two wins in his first season to back-to-back bowl games in his last two, and as tight ends coach/recruiting coordinator at Toledo (2009-11) he helped lead the Rockets from a 3-9 mark before his arrival to 8-5 and 9-4 campaigns in his last two years. Golesh aided the Toledo program in securing the No. 1 recruiting class in the Mid-American Conference in consecutive years (2010 & 2011) according to Rivals.com.
“We are thrilled to welcome Coach Golesh as the new leader of our program. He is a dynamic coach and recruiter who is relentless in pursuit of excellence, as evidenced by his outstanding track record of elevating numerous programs. He also happens to be one of the most creative and successful offensive minds in college football,” Kelly said. “Alex has worked his way up through the college ranks, been a key part of successful program-building at numerous stops and has developed perhaps the most fearsome offensive attack in college football today. We are very excited that he and his wife, Alexis, and their children, Corbin and Barrett, are joining our Bulls family and he will lead us into an exciting future of USF football.”
“I am excited to welcome Coach Alex Golesh and his family to the University of South Florida and the Tampa Bay region,” USF President Rhea Law said. “I thank Michael Kelly for conducting a thorough search that led us to a coach who shares our vision of providing a successful college experience for our student-athletes and winning football games consistently. Coach Golesh joins a university that’s strongly committed to supporting our football program and taking USF Athletics to the next level, including building a transformational on-campus stadium.”
Golesh also has coaching experience in the state of Florida, serving for one season as co-offensive coordinator/tight ends coach at UCF (2020), where the Knights ranked second in FBS football in total offense (568.1), fourth in passing offense (357.4), seventh in total passing yards (3,574) and eighth in scoring offense (42.2).
“I am thankful to Chairman Weatherford, President Law and Michael Kelly for their support and belief in me to bring the USF program back to the top of college football,” Golesh said. “I’m excited to be back in the state of Florida and work with the great high school coaches in this state. This program will have an identity both offensively and defensively, and with special teams. We will be the most aggressive team in the country, both on the field and on the recruiting trail. I am humbled by the opportunity, and I appreciate the commitment from this University and Bulls Nation to hiring the best staff in the country. My family and I can’t wait to get going.”
In each of his three seasons as an offensive coordinator, Golesh’s offenses have finished in the top 10 in scoring offense and total offense in FBS football each year. His first Tennessee offense shattered eight team single-season records, including points (511), total offensive yards (6,174), touchdowns (67) and passing efficiency (167.10), and has surpassed all those marks again in 2022 with games remaining. Golesh and the Vols improved a scoring offense that skyrocketed 107 spots from 108th in the country in 2020 to seventh in 2021 and first in 2022.
Player development highlights under Golesh include quarterback Hendon Hooker shattering Tennessee single-season records for completion percentage (68.0) and passing efficiency (181.41) in 2021 and surpassing the completion percentage mark in 2022 (69.6) while becoming a Maxwell Award finalist as the top player in college football. He threw for 3,135 yards and 27 touchdowns and ran for 430 yards and five touchdowns to close within 224 yards of Peyton Manning’s school season total offense record (3,789) before suffering an injury in the Vols’ 11th game that ended his 2022 season.
Tennessee’s Jalin Hyatt became Golesh’s second receiver to be recognized as a Biletnikoff Award finalist as he is tied for the lead in FBS football in receiving touchdowns (15) and ranks third with 1,267 yards (18.91 ypc) on 67 catches in 2022. UCF’s Marlon Williams was also a Biletnikoff Award finalist in 2020 after ranking third in the nation with 8.9 receptions per game and fifth with 129.9 yards per game.
Golesh’s teams have made 12 bowl game appearances and he has coached five players that have been selected in the NFL Draft. He was named to the prestigious American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) 35 Under 35 class of 2019. The program is aimed at identifying and developing premier, future leaders in the football coaching profession.
Golesh spent three seasons as a graduate assistant coach – two at Northern Illinois (2006-07) and one at Oklahoma State (2008), working with the OSU outside linebackers and helping the program to a 9-4 record and Holiday Bowl berth. He started his career as a student assistant coach while attending Ohio State as an undergraduate and spent two and a half years aiding the Buckeyes’ defensive coaches and working with the defensive line as the Buckeyes claimed the 2005 Big Ten championship and went on to earn a victory in the Fiesta Bowl over Notre Dame. Golesh also spent one year as a defensive line coach in a first-year football program at the newly opened Westerville Central (Ohio) High School in 2003.
Golesh was born in Moscow, Russia, but grew up in Brooklyn, New York, and Dublin, Ohio, where he was a three-year letter winner in football at Dublin Scioto High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Ohio State in 2006.
Golesh and his wife Alexis, have one daughter, Corbin, and one son, Barrett.
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QUOTES ON ALEX GOLESH
Mike Vrabel, Head Coach of the Tennessee Titans
“Alex has always taken the philosophy of ‘no job too small to help the team win’ at every stop along his journey. He has remained steadfast in doing what was best for the team, putting the players and his family first and remaining humble as he has climbed through this hectic profession. I am excited to watch his success.”
Jim Tressel, President, Youngstown State University
and Former Head Football Coach, Ohio State University:
“So excited for Alex and his family. His tireless work ethic and passion for student-athletes will serve USF very well for years to come.”
Matt Campbell, Head Coach at Iowa State:
“Alex is a gifted leader of people. He is articulate, smart, charismatic, and he most importantly cares about the lives of his players. Alex and his amazing family will be great ambassadors and leaders for the University of South Florida and the future of its football program.”
Marcus Freeman, Head Coach at Notre Dame:
“I’ve been fortunate to see Alex from a player and coach’s perspective. He has an unbelievable ability to maximize every individual he comes into contact with. That is a result of his ability to earn their trust and because he is a man of character. Alex will do a great job building the program at South Florida.”
ABOUT USF FOOTBALL
The USF football program first took the field in 1997 and completed its 26th season in 2022 while completing construction on a $22 million Indoor Performance Facility. The Bulls have posted 15 winning seasons and earned 16 All-America selections, including 2021 consensus All-American Brian Battie, while seeing 32 first-team all-conference selections. USF has had 30 players selected in the NFL Draft and has made 10 bowl game appearances (going 6-4 in those games), posting a program-record six straight appearances from 2005-2010 and most recently making four straight bowl appearances from 2015-18. The Bulls posted back-to-back 10-win seasons in 2016 and 2017, logging a program-record 11-2 mark in 2016 while finishing both seasons ranked in the Top 25. USF spent a program-record 20 straight weeks ranked in the Top 25 during the 2016 and 2017 seasons and reached as high as No. 2 in the national rankings during the 2007 season.
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