USF Names Stan Heath Mens Basketball Coach

Stan Heath, whose head coaching career includes three ncaa appearances in six seasons as head coach, has been named the new head men's basketball coach at the University of South Florida, Director of Athletics Doug Woolard announced at a press conference Tuesday afternoon

heath owns three ncaa appearances in six seasons as head coach

Heath, 42, arrives at USF after serving as head coach at the University of Arkansas for each of the previous five seasons.  While with the Razorbacks, Heath guided the program to a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances (2006, 2007) and an overall record of 82-71.  UA posted 20-win campaigns in each of the previous two seasons and 2006-07 was highlighted by a run to the championship game of the Southeastern Conference Tournament and subsequent participation in the NCAA's. 

"I couldn't be more pleased to introduce Stan Heath as our men's head basketball coach," Woolard said.  "He has had tremendous success at every level of college basketball.  During his five years as an assistant at Michigan State, their team went to the NIT, Sweet 16, Final Four twice, and won a National Championship.   

"During his one season at Kent State, he led what many people consider to be a mid-major school to a 30-6 record and an Elite Eight appearance," Woolard added.  "During his five years as a head coach at Arkansas, his recruiting classes were ranked in the top 15-or-better three times.  Additionally, the last two seasons his team won 20-or-more games, made the NCAA Tournament, and played against Florida in the SEC Tournament championship game." 

An outstanding recruiter throughout his career, Heath's signing classes have gained national recognition in recent years.  National media outlets ranked his efforts among the top 15 in the country in 2003, 2004 and 2006.  In his six years (Arkansas and Kent State University) as a head coach, he has directed a total of six players to all-league accolades on eight occasions and his rosters have featured a pair of freshman All-Americans, two conference defensive players of the year and one sixth man of the year. 

"Today, we are here to celebrate the beginning of a new era for the USF men's basketball program, the hiring of Stan Heath," University President Dr. Judy Genshaft said.  "The entire University community is excited about the selection of coach Heath as he has encountered tremendous success already in his career and we look forward to that continuing in the future. 

"I am extremely pleased with the results of Athletic Director Woolard's search and know that he selected the best fit possible for our student-athletes and the University," Genshaft added. 

"On behalf of the trustees, students, faculty, staff, and supporters, it is my pleasure to officially welcome coach Heath, his wife Ramona and their two sons, Jordan and Josh to the USF family." 

Prior to Arkansas, Heath guided Kent State to a record-setting 2001-02 campaign in his first year as a head coach at the collegiate level.  The Golden Flashes claimed the Mid-American Conference regular season and tournament titles en route to a 30-6 record and an appearance in the Elite Eight.  KSU set a league record for wins that year, won 21 games in a row and defeated three nationally ranked opponents (No. 20 Oklahoma St., No. 8 Alabama, No. 9 Pittsburgh) during its historic postseason run. 

While an assistant coach for five seasons (1996-97 – 2000-01) under Tom Izzo at Michigan State, Heath helped the Spartans develop into one of the top programs in all of college basketball.  During his tenure, MSU advanced to the Final Four on three occasions (1999, 2000 and 2001), highlighted by the national championship in 2000.  The Spartans compiled an overall record of 132-37 during his stay in Lansing and also made one more Sweet Sixteen (1998) trip and participated in the National Invitation Tournament (1997). 

The Detroit native has also made collegiate assistant coaching stops at Bowling Green State University (1994-95 – 1995-96), Wayne State University (1991-92 – 1993-94), Albion College (1989-90 – 1990-91) and Hillsdale College (1988-89).  He began his coaching career at the prep level, working for one season (1987-88) at Lincoln High School in Ypsilanti, Mich. 

"I am excited about the opportunity and partnership available at USF and I look forward to moving the program forward," Heath said.  "It's going to take a lot of work and commitment and our coaches and players will bring an exciting and fast brand of basketball to the Sun Dome.  

"We intend to not only make NCAA Tournament appearances, but also win games in the postseason as we develop our players both academically and athletically," Heath added. 

A three-year letterwinner (1984-85 – 1986-87) at Eastern Michigan University, Heath earned his bachelor's degree in social science in 1988.  He went on to complete his master's work in sports administration in 1993 at Wayne State University. 

Heath is married to the former Ramona Webb and the couple has two sons; Jordan (14) and Joshua (12).

Stan Heath Press conference quotes:

University President Dr. Judy Genshaft

"Today, we are here to celebrate the beginning of a new era for the USF men's basketball program, the hiring of Stan Heath.  The entire University community is excited about the selection of coach Heath as he has encountered tremendous success already in his career and we look forward to that continuing in the future. 

"I am extremely pleased with the results of Athletic Director Woolard's search and know that he selected the best fit possible for our student-athletes and the University. 

"On behalf of the trustees, students, faculty, staff, and supporters, it is my pleasure to officially welcome coach Heath, his wife Ramona and their two sons, Jordan and Josh to the USF family."

 

Director of Athletics Doug Woolard

"I couldn't be more pleased to introduce Stan Heath as our men's head basketball coach.  He has had tremendous success at every level of college basketball.  During his five years as an assistant at Michigan State, their team went to the NIT, Sweet 16, Final Four twice, and won a National Championship.   

"During his one season at Kent State, he led what many people consider to be a mid-major school to a 30-6 record and an Elite Eight appearance.  During his five years as a head coach at Arkansas, his recruiting classes were ranked in the top 15-or-better three times.  Additionally, the last two seasons his team won 20-or-more games, made the NCAA Tournament, and played against Florida in the SEC Tournament championship game."

 

Head Men's Basketball Coach Stan Heath

"I'm humbled.  I'm really excited to be here.  I want to thank my family.  You go through highs and lows in this profession and you cry both ways - you cry when you're sad and you cry when you're happy and believe me, we're crying happy right now." 

"I want to thank our president (Dr. Judy Genshaft).  I had a brief moment to speak with her on the phone during this process and she excited me.  She had me fired up.  Lee Roy Selmon, a terrific person, I had a chance to meet him, great character.  I was a big fan of his back when he was playing.   

"A Bull, that's a Bull right there - this guy (Doug Woolard) is relentless and he works hard and he's tireless.  He could have easily, easily said, 'you know what, I've gone through this, the doors are kind of closed,' but he didn't and I'm appreciative that he kept that window open, because that's all I want.  I just want that window busted down.  Just crack that door a little bit, because I'm trying to go through.  I'm really excited to be here.  This is a great opportunity for me.  I just see this as a sleeping giant.  I woke up this morning and said "wow, I'm here? I get to work here?"  This is just a great, exciting feeling for me." 

"We're going to win.  And we're going to win real soon, a lot sooner than a lot of people think.  For some people, they look at things differently.  For me, I see just great possibilities.  We're going to work hard.  Our players, I know they're going to work hard.  They're going to lay the foundation.  I'm expecting some things this season.  We want to get some things done this season and we can do that.  This is a team effort.  It's a coaching staff, its players, its community, its students-we've got to get those students here.  We've got to get them here and we've got to make this, when winter comes, the thing to do, the thing that's happening during those winter months.  It's a goal of mine to put a great product out there.  To put out a team that's exciting, a team that's going to play hard, a team that's going to play pressure basketball.  What does that mean? It means we're going to run.  What does that mean? It means we're going to get in your face and guard you. What does that mean? It means we're going to attack you all the time.  That's how we want to play."   

"We're going to hit the road recruiting.  This is going to be a whirlwind for me, these next couple weeks, while we still have this period to work, because we want to sign a few more guys and get some help in here.  We want to make sure that I get a chance to meet as many people as I can, but right now you're probably going to be second on my list to recruiting, I can tell you that.  Again, I'm excited to be here, I think this is a great opportunity and I'm definitely going to make the most of it." 

 

On emotions from being let go at Arkansas a week ago:

"Well, when you're in this profession, you go through ups and downs all the time.  Obviously, it's a disappointment when that happens.  I think when that happens to anybody in life, you get really disappointed about it and you look inward at what happened and why.  But my primary concern at that time was my family.  As a coach, you kind of know what you're getting into a little bit.  Your kids and your family don't quite know those things, so I became very protective of them, I became very concerned about the future of the guys that I recruited and that I coached that were left in the program.  So those were my reactions and at the same time I knew that it was time to move forward.  So once that decision was made, it was time to move forward.  I wanted to look at options.  One thing about this situation, I didn't have to coach.  I really didn't, but it's in my blood to coach and I'm really excited about being here and so you go from those extremes and this is an extreme high for me, personally.  And I can't tell you how excited my wife and my kids are right now." 

 

On what made USF the right fit:

"Well, I'm a feel guy.  I just go by what's in my head and how I connect with people, and I just really connected with Doug, to be honest with you.  It really was a great connection, I felt his passion, I felt his enthusiasm to be here and for me it was wow, something must really be going well here.  Our talks were great.  I had been here in 1999.  We played a tournament here when I was an assistant coach, so I had a general feel for the environment here and I knew quite a few people that had awareness of South Florida, the diversity, the community, the basketball program, and it just seemed like the more things we talked about, the more information that I kept getting, momentum just kept building. And to me, it just seemed like a great fit, personally, and for my family."

 

On strengths in directing USF: 

"I think in this day and age, a coach has to wear a lot of different hats and you've got to be versatile.  You've got to be able to multi-task.  The best thing I can do right now is connect with these guys (current players) who are very important to me, very important to our program and make sure that we play at the highest possible level -- that we can play at every night and that's something I'm going to work very hard at and I believe that's something these guys right here are going to work very hard at as well."

 

On discussions about facilities and amenities: 

"Doug and I, let's see, we spent Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday together.  I spent more time with him than my wife and I really expected to be with my wife there in Atlanta.  So we talked about all the different things.  We talked about the program, the facilities, the community, the academic side, the importance of being a student-athlete here.  We went through an array; I mean it was thorough in both ways.  He wanted to find out as much as he could about me.  I wanted to find out as much as I could about this University and the basketball program and all my questions were answered.  I feel very good about it and I think he felt the same way as well."

 

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