Ask Sudsy- August, 2017
The USF Bulls football season begins on August 26th. Sports and recreational activities play a key role in the full college experience. With limited facilities at USFSP, how did the campus accommodate the athletic interests of its students?
Water, water, water!
Ahoy! With the generous donation of a Rhodes 19 sailboat in1971, USFSP launched its sailing program – perfect for a campus located on historic Bayboro Harbor. The program was originally housed in a humble wooden shed on a seawall. The intrepid student workers encountered unique challenges developing the watercraft program. For example, during his first day on the job, dockmaster Mike Reischmann was bitten by a scorpion lurking in the sailing shed.
The watercraft program evolved in two main parts: recreational and competitive. Mini-courses in Basic Sailing introduced students to the joys of seafaring. USFSP crews entered – and won – various local regattas. Many more sailboats, plus canoes and kayaks, were added to the USFSP fleet. Today our University sailing teams participate in both intercollegiate and international competitions.
The waterfront program has grown monumentally since 1971 and is based at the modern Donald A. Haney Sailing Center. Over the years, legions of dedicated students have added to the evolution of this stellar program. Among those students: Lee Chase, David Lydon, Bob Lindy, Elizabeth J. Zeigler, Matt McGlothlin, Bjorn Brunvand, Jody Schultz, Vinny D’Angelo, Jerry Bailey and countless others. Leading the pack was Cliff Bare who helmed watercraft and recreation for over a dozen years during the 1970’s-‘90s.
Open seven days a week, the swimming pool was the recreational and social hub for the campus community and their families. Daily water volleyball was the norm for decades. Intramurals and tournaments featured campus teams such as The Mullet, Omar’s Volley’s, and the Water Buffalo (a harborside nod to the Bulls). Swimming, first aid, life-saving, wilderness survival, canoeing, and scuba lessons were also offered.
Water activities predominated, but landlubbers were not left behind. USF St. Pete teams participated in City League softball, flag football, basketball and volleyball. Eventually, there was soccer. Students could play golf for $3 at the nearby Sunset Golf and Country Club on Snell Isle. A campus game room provided pool, air hockey, and table tennis.
Adjacent to the pool was the remnant of a tennis court. Tennis buffs hoped that one day it would be renovated. But, campus expansion took other amazing turns.
Questions about USF St. Petersburg? Ask Sudsy. She is a proud alumna, with degrees in English, ’71 and ’83. Arriving at USFSP as a student in 1969, Sudsy was a full-time employee here from 1971-2011. She’s still on campus as a part-time staffer in University Advancement. Sudsy would love to hear from YOU!