TAMPA, Fla. - Ken Eriksen is watching the USF softball team from a different perspective these days.
Now that he's transitioned into his role as Team USA's head coach, Eriksen must step away from his job as Bulls head coach -- just for the season.
In his temporary role, Eriksen is limited to what he can do at USF. He can't coach the players and he can't recruit.
"You can help the coaches coach, you can be there as an advisor to the gameday operations," said Eriksen. "Basically, I'm the guy that's going to go get the pregame meal, the postgame meal, make sure all the operational stuff for the game is ready to go, the hot dogs are hot and the music is playing. I'm like the undercover boss type of deal. That's me right now, and I'm finding out that we need to appreciate a lot more people."
While he watches from afar, Eriksen's assistant coaches, Jessica Moore and Tommy Santiago, will guide the Bulls during his hiatus.
"At the end of the day, this is Ken's program," said Moore. "We intend to keep it that way. Yes, there's a little bit of a different flavor with Coach Santiago and I. [We are] kind of being a little bit more in charge, so to speak, but at the end of the day, it's Ken's program, and it'll remain that way."
"We have a group that knows what they're doing, so I feel really comfortable with what's happening," said Eriksen.
He can still talk to his team after practices, offering up any advice that he may want to share with the players.
Once November rolls around, Eriksen is less likely to be on the USF campus as training gets underway for Team USA and the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
"It's really full-time with USA right now, setting up the schedules, the tour that we have coming up," he said. "We're going to be in the Tampa Bay area quite a bit, so it's nice that the people here get to see the best team in the world play and practice."
He'll be around as much as he can, but for now, it's time to shift his focus from the green and gold to the red, white and blue.