Brian Gregory hired at USF

Former Georgia Tech coach Brian Gregory has accepted the head-coaching job at South Florida. Gregory takes on a daunting task to restore a team that went 1-17 in the American Athletic Conference this past season (8-25 overall) and is under NCAA investigation for possible academic fraud. The school made the announcement Tuesday afternoon.

The hiring was reported by CBS Sports writer Jon Rothstein Tuesday morning. Since his dismissal at Tech last April, Gregory has remained in Atlanta, but was working on a consultant basis at Michigan State, where he was a longtime assistant to coach Tom Izzo.

In five seasons at Tech, Gregory was 76-86 overall and 27-61 in the ACC. His best season was his last, when the Yellow Jackets were 21-15 overall and 8-10 in the ACC and reached the NIT quarterfinals.

Gregory replaces Orlando Antigua, who was fired in January. The NCAA’s investigation dates at least to last summer. He was 16-47 in 2 1/2 seasons. Rather coincidentally, Antigua was an assistant with Tech coach Josh Pastner for one season at Memphis before leaving for Kentucky with John Calipari, whose departure led to Pastner’s hire as head coach in 2010.

Further, Antigua replaced Stan Heath at USF. Heath’s firing led to his son Josh transferring to play for Gregory, who is close friends with Heath, having coached together at Michigan State.

The challenge Gregory takes on is considerable. The team’s leading scorer, Geno Thorpe, is leaving the team with a season of eligibility remaining, and a prominent backup also sought his release to transfer. The Tampa Bay Times reported that more transfers are expected.

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