VIA UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA ATHLETICS COMMUNICATIONS -
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.”
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.
COVER PHOTO COURTESY GETTY IMAGES