The Port Arthur News
According to two Port Arthur News sources in college basketball, former Lamar University basketball coach Steve Roccaforte is close to landing a job on Stan Heath’s staff at the University of South Florida.
Roccaforte, who spoke with The News for the first time since his March 14 dismissal at Lamar, would not acknowledge that he’s in the running at the St. Petersburg, Fla., school.
“I’m not comfortable talking about it,” he said. “I’ve talked to anybody and everybody who had an opening. There were a handful of really good jobs I went after but nothing worked out. So I’m just not comfortable talking about anything at this point.”
Roccaforte, 45, was let go with one year remaining on his contract at Lamar. His Cardinal teams were 76-78 overall and 39-41 in the Southland Conference. The Thomas Jefferson High School graduate’s hopes of returning for a sixth season when down the drain when LU failed to make the Southland Conference tournament for a third consecutive year.
South Florida is a member of the Big East Conference. The Bulls are 51-77 in four years under Heath, after going 10-23 overall and 3-15 in conference play last season. Heath was previously the head coach at Arkansas where he posted an 82-71 record. He landed the Arkansas job after a 30-6 season at Kent State.
“It’s not a done deal but it’s close,” said one of the PA News sources, who confirmed there were no real ties between Roccaforte and Heath. “Several of Roc’s friends in coaching, including John Calipari, have been involved,” the source added.
Roccaforte was an assistant for Calipari from 2000 through 2003 at Memphis. He also did assistant coaching stints at Wyoming for two years, Tulane for four years, Centenary for five years and Lamar for three years.
When he was hired by Billy Tubbs at Lamar in 2003, Roccaforte came to Beaumont with the reputation of being one of the hottest recruiters in college basketball. Among his recruiting coups was getting Beaumont Ozen ex Kendrick Perkins to sign with Memphis. Memphis. Perkins, however, later changed his mind and went straight to the NBA.