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Cinderella story of USF’s Jerome Pathon
Posted Feb 21, 2012 by Joey Johnston
Updated Feb 21, 2012 at 11:11 PM
If you’re attracted to a good Cinderella sports story, then you’re probably going to love Jerome Pathon, who was hired Tuesday as the University of South Florida’s receivers coach.
Pathon, 36, was receivers coach at the University of San Diego for the past three seasons. Born in South Africa and raised in Canada, he didn’t have a big-time scholarship offer for college football. So he became a walk-on at the University of Washington.
* He finished as the school’s third all-time leader in receiving yards.
* He became a first-team All-American.
* He was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in the second round (with the 32nd overall pick).
* He played eight seasons in the NFL.
“You don’t do any of that without some incredible determination, drive and work habits,’’ USF coach Skip Holtz said. “His path to get there (NFL) was as interesting to me as him actually being there. I think he’s very special.’’
Holtz said Pathon’s background will mean “instant credibility’’ for USF’s receiving corps, one of the team’s deepest and strongest units.
“But this is more than just sizzle,’’ Holtz said. “When he got on the board (during the interview process), he showed that he knows the trade. The techniques and fundamentals … he just knows the trade. There’s sizzle to his background, but he has quite a bit of substance behind it as well.’’
Ironically, Phil McGeoghan, the former USF receivers coach who left for the NFL’s Miami Dolphins just after signing day, was a major reason why Pathon got a look from USF. McGeoghan, who once was Pathon’s teammate with the New Orleans Saints, recommended him to Holtz. Minnesota Vikings assistant George Stewart, who once played for Holtz’s father Lou, also knows Pathon and provided a strong endorsement.
“Jerome is a young coach, but I think his star is rising,’’ Holtz said. “I was impressed by his knowledge, his experience and his hunger. Jerome really made an impression on Phil (McGeoghan). He was a teammate, but he coached Phil back then on how to be a professional and how to work.
“I think Jerome is going to do the same kind of thing for our guys.’’