TAMPA, MAY 19, 2014 (USF/Press Release) – University of South Florida Director of Athletics Mark Harlan announced today that Head Baseball Coach Lelo Prado has accepted the position of associate director of athletics for administration and external services. Prado will join the USF Athletics Department senior administrative staff following the conclusion of the current baseball season. A national search for a new head baseball coach will begin immediately.
In his new role, Prado, who is completing his eighth season leading the USF baseball program, will serve as a sport administrator, develop community outreach and marketing initiatives, aid fundraising efforts and assist Harlan and Deputy Athletics Director Barry Clements on a day-to-day basis.
“I am looking forward to the next chapter in my career,” Prado said. “I am very thankful for my wife, Pam, and my sons, Jason, Tyler and Zach, and the sacrifices they have made in supporting my coaching career.
“I would like to thank Mark Harlan for the opportunity to move into the administrative side of athletics and apply the experience I’ve gained during a long career in coaching. It is not easy to leave my players, coaches and the game of baseball, but the time is right to take on a new challenge. Mark has tremendous leadership and vision for USF Athletics, and I am excited to work alongside him and the rest of the staff in a broader role.”
Prado brings 26 years of experience and nearly 850 wins as a head coach to the USF Athletics administration, including 11 years leading the Louisville baseball program and seven as head coach at the University of Tampa where he won back-to-back NCAA Division II National Championships in 1992 and 1993.
“I appreciate everything Lelo has done for the USF baseball program and believe he has helped put it in a position to be great,” Harlan said. “I am very excited that he has agreed to join our administrative leadership team. Lelo’s tremendous personality, presence in the community and talent for connecting with people will be a great asset. It is a critical component to have someone with his coaching experience on staff and I expect he will be a vital resource in mentoring many of our young coaches.”
Prado has earned five conference coach of the year honors, including being named the 2009 Big East Coach of the Year, during a head coaching career that began in 1989. In his 19 seasons at the Division I level, his teams posted twelve 30-win seasons. He has won 250 games in his eight seasons at the helm at USF. His 320 wins while leading the Louisville baseball program made him that program’s all-time winningest coach when he departed. He also led the Cardinals to their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance in baseball.
Prado previously served in athletic administration as an assistant director of athletics at the University of Tampa where he focused on fundraising and community support coordination.
Prado will lead USF (26-29) into the inaugural American Athletic Conference Baseball Championship beginning Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m. when the fifth-seeded Bulls take on fourth-seeded Rutgers (29-23) at Bright House Field in Clearwater, Fla. The winner of the American Athletic Conference Championship will receive the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Baseball Tournament.