A former Spartan All-American himself, Joe Urso is set to begin his 16th season as the head coach at the University of Tampa. In addition to defending their 2015 national title, UT’s all-time winningest coach looks to add to a lengthy list of accolades in 2016, which include 10 Sunshine State Conference titles, 10 NCAA South Regional championships and four national championships (2006, 2007, 2013, 2015):
IP: When did you know that you wanted to coach for a living? How did you get your start?
Joe Urso: “I knew once I was in the minor leagues that once my playing days were over, I wanted to get into coaching. The Angels gave me a shot, I was able to coach with them for four years and when the job opened up, I knew it was a perfect fit. We were about to have our first child, so I was able to come back home to an amazing job. It was always a dream of mine to come back and take over.”
IP: What does the word ‘tradition’ mean to you and how did you build it at the University of Tampa?
JU: “We talk a lot about tradition, I take it personal. The tradition is so strong; you’re only recognized as a ‘great’ team at Tampa if you win a national title. So these guys know coming in the expectations are high to keep this tradition going. We take a lot of pride in it and take it personal when things aren’t going the right way.”
“Last year was a great example- the first regional poll came out and we were possibly going to be left out of the tournament. That’s where we saw the seniors especially take it personal; they weren’t going to let that tradition be compromised. We won 18 of 20 down the stretch to finish it off and win the national title. It’s great to watch people come through our program and take so much pride in trying to keep us on top.”
IP: What are the first things you do with your incoming players?
JU: “When we get our new guys, they come in to us from a lot of great programs and they’re obviously good players. We preach to them that READ THE REST