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COPYRIGHT NOTICE This Oral History is copyrighted by the University of South Florida Libraries Oral History Program on behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of South Florida. Copyright, 2008, University of South Florida. All rights, reserved This oral history may be used for research, instruction, and private study under the provisions of the Fair Use. Fair Use is a provision of the United States Copyright Law (United States Code, Title 17, section 107), which allows limited use of copyrig hted materials under certain conditions. Fair Use limits the amount of material that may be used. For all other permissions and requests, contact the UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA LIBRARIES ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at the University of South Florida, 4202 E. Fo wler Avenue, LIB 122, Tampa, FL 33620.
1 USF Florida Studies Center Oral History Program USF 50 th History Anniversary Project Narrator: Chad Barnhardt Interviewer: Danielle Riley Current Position: USF alumnus Location of Interview: Phone Date of Interview: May 25, 2004 Abstractor: Ja red G. Toney Editor: Mary E. Yeary Date of Abstract: Oct. 14, 2004 Date of Edit: Oct. 15, 2004 Final Editor: Jared G. Toney TOPICS OF DISCUSSION Mr. Barnhardt was the first quarterback for the USF football team. Background Mr. Barnhardt was born and raised in Lake Wales, Florida, where he graduated from high school in 1994. After receiving his diploma, he was drafted by the Boston Red Sox to play professional baseball for a year. After a year in the major leagues, he enrolled at the University of South Carolina, where he spent two years before transferring to the University of South Florida. High school athletics Barnhardt was always involved in athletics, and "grew up playing almost anything." He played both football and baseball in high school, and after graduation received opportunities in both sports. He played quarterback on the football team, and both catcher and shortstop in baseball. Asked whether he had a preference for either sport, Mr. Barnhardt replies, "It depends on what season it is ." Professional baseball He remembers that he "always had aspirations" for playing baseball professionally, "and it worked it pretty nicely [having] the opportunity to do that." After a year with the Red Sox, Barnhardt chose to stop playing so that he cou ld go back to school. Boston Red Sox His first season with the Boston Red Sox, Barnhardt recalls, "was a learning experience." Though he enjoyed it, he began to miss football and school and felt that it was "not the right time in [his] life" to dedicate himself to professional baseball. "[I] just really looked forward to getting back in that groove." University of South Carolina As a student athlete at South Carolina, Barnhardt did not get as many opportunities to start on the football team as he would h ave liked, so he "had to look elsewhere."
2 High school graduation As a high school graduate, Barnhardt had received an offer from Coach Vinnie Cardieri to play baseball at South Florida, but he chose instead to play professionally with the Red Sox. Inte restingly, current USF football coach Jim Leavitt was still at Kansas State University where he attempted to recruit Barnhardt for the football team. Having a prior relationship with the coaches and the physical proximity to Tampa induced Barnhardt to enro ll at South Florida. "The rest is history." Enrollment at USF Because he lived so close to Tampa, Mr. Barnhardt had already been to the USF campus on several occasions before deciding to enroll. "I thought it was a neat place I've always liked Tampa." T he campus, he recalls, "was a little bit different." His first semester, he lived across Fletcher Avenue in Fontana Hall, then moved into a nearby apartment with other players. USF Football The football program did extremely well in its first year, Barnha rdt recalls. "I think down here football is important. There was a lot of excitement." With all of the publicization and community support, nearly 50,000 tickets were sold for the first game, among them a number of season tickets. "Having that many people at [the] first game certainly said a lot about the interest and the enthusiasm of the area plus there [were] good people backing it." First football game The first game, Barnhardt recalls, "Was lot of fun ... Everything clicked. [It was] a perfect day. It didn't rain It was just beautiful. [There was a] huge crowd, and everybody was so excited. It [was] certainly unforgettable." Tampa/Raymond James stadiums The team played its games the first year in the old Tampa Stadium, home of the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After it was torn down, they began playing at the new Raymond James Stadium. Academics As a student at USF, Mr. Barnhardt was studying marketing, which, he admits, "has nothing to do with what I am doing right now." His schedule was consisten tly "pretty busy" as he juggled athletics and academics. Coaches and teammates As a football player, Barnhardt developed "very close" relationships with his fellow teammates, one of whom currently coaches with him in Lake Wales. The coaches he had at USF he recalls, were "very good guys ... They were honest and fair ... There's a lot to be said about that group of coaches They were outstanding people ... They taught me a lot." To this day, he continues to stay in touch with his coaches from the Univers ity of South Florida.
3 Team traditions Among the team's traditions, before home games, players would all meet together at Fontana Hall for the pre game meal. For road games, a plane would be chartered, carrying only the players, coaches, parents, and boost ers. The fact that many of the players lived together also helped to build and galvanize strong relationships. Holding team meetings in the trailers which housed the football offices, he remembers, "was a tradition that a lot of people kind of joked about ." Student reactions to the football program In regards to the student reactions, Barnhardt notes, "I think they were really happy ... they always supported us ... The football team gives them ... a better sense of identity ... something to rally around." College graduation Mr. Barnhardt graduated in December 1998 after playing football at USF for two years. After that, he knew that he wanted to coach, but did not have any idea what opportunities might be available. He accepted a position as head coach o f the baseball team at Lake Wales High School where he worked for several years before moving to a coaching position on the football team where he currently works. Lessons learned Being a part of the football team at USF, Barnhardt reflects, "certainly pa id dividends for me. [It] taught me leadership and responsibility all things that we try to preach to our players now." Lasting impressions "I think [USF] is the best place in the world to go to school. The best place to play football ... I am very pro ud of it proud of my experiences and thankful to the Lord that I did that and He gave me that chance." End of Interview
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interviewed by Danielle E. Riley.
Tampa, Fla. :
University of South Florida Tampa Library,
1 sound file (0 min.) :
digital, MPEG4 file +
e 1 expanded summary (digital, PDF file)
USF 50th (2006) anniversary oral history project
Interview conducted May 25, 2004.
Chad Barnhardt, the first quarterback of the USF Football team, discusses his decision to leave behind an opportunity to play professional baseball and go back to college to play football. In 1994, Barnhardt was drafted by the Boston Red Sox and played for a year before returning to school at the University of South Carolina to play football. He later transferred to USF to get more playing time and the opportunity to help build up a new football program.
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
University of South Florida.
Boston Red Sox (Baseball team)
South Carolina Fighting Gamecocks (Football team)
Riley, Danielle E.
University of South Florida Libraries.
Florida Studies Center.
Oral History Program.
University of South Florida.
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