TAMPA, Fla. — University of South Florida Athletic Director Michael Kelly said he plans to hurry - but not rush - when it comes to selecting a new head football coach. 

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On Monday, a day after the firing of third-year coach Charlie Strong, Kelly said the process for finding the Bulls' next coach would not include a search firm. 

Strong was named head coach in December 2016 and led the Bulls for three seasons. During his time at USF, Strong had a 21-16 overall record and made two bowl appearances. 

A $5 million buyout is expected to be paid over time to Strong. 



But the program hit hard times after a solid start for Strong, ending his run as coach with just four wins in his last 18 games. USF finished 4-8 this season, ending the campaign with an embarrasing 34-7 loss to rival UCF Friday

"We will move forward with the neccessary urgency that we need to," Kelly said. "We will do whatever it takes to find the best fit for the next chapter of USF football. " 



"We need to not only continue to find ways to focus on how we became as good as we need to be in the state and the country but it starts with the American and finding the resources and support neccessary to win the American and move beyond."

While not facing any actual deadline, Kelly is eyeing the Dec. 18 early signing period. Recruits can sign during a 72-hour period that begins that day. 

Kelly would like to have someone in place by then,adding "We understand the urgency of it." 

For now, Defensive Coordinator Brian Jean-Mary as the interim head coach and Strong's staff will continue in place on the recruiting trail.