South Florida fires Skip Holtz after 3 seasons

Question of the Day

What has been the biggest debacle on Obama's watch?

View results

TAMPA, FLA. (AP) - Skip Holtz was fired as South Florida’s football coach after two straight losing seasons in which the program fell back instead of progressed.

Athletic director Doug Woolard made the announcement Sunday after meeting with Holtz individually and then accompanying the former coach to a gathering with players. A search for a replacement will begin immediately, with no definitive timetable for naming the successor.

“It was a very difficult meeting and one I will tell you that Skip handled very professionally and very classy as he always does,” Woolard said during a news conference.

“It was a matter of just not having the production that we needed to have over the last couple of years on the field. … Every program experiences highs and lows on the way to national prominence,” Woolard added. “Brighter days are ahead.”

The son of former Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz went 16-21 at the Big East school, concluding a three-year run with the worst season in school history. The Bulls lost nine of 10 to finish 3-9, 1-6 in the conference, following a 2-0 start.

The firing came a year after Holtz was given a contract extension through 2017 despite going 5-7 in his second season. He will receive a $2.5 million buyout paid over five years.

In a statement released by USF, Holtz thanked his assistant coaches and players for their dedication and loyalty.

“I’m extremely proud of how they fought through adversity during this time. Throughout my time here the young men on this team never gave up, and that reflects on their character as individuals and as a team,” Holtz said.

“I believe we made some positive strides, most notably in our academics, that were helping to build a foundation for this program and I would have liked the opportunity to see it through,” the coach added. “But I understand the administration’s decision and wish them nothing but success in the future.”

Holtz inherited a program that Jim Leavitt built from scratch, signing a $9.1 million, five-year contract in January 2010 after Leavitt was fired for mistreating a player who had accused the former coach of grabbing him by the throat and slapping him in the face during halftime of a game.

The 48-year-old Holtz came to USF from East Carolina, where he had guided the Pirates to a pair of Conference USA championships. He welcomed the challenge of stepping into the Big East and trying to transform the Bulls, ranked as high as No. 2 in the country in 2007, into an elite program.

But it did not happen.

The Bulls went 8-5 and appeared in a bowl game for the sixth consecutive season two years ago, but a pattern of underachieving that actually began under Leavitt returned in 2011, when USF won four straight to climb into the Top 25 only to drop seven of eight down the stretch and tumble to the bottom of the conference.

USF has lost 14 of its past 16 against Big East opponents and were 5-16 overall in league play under Holtz, who stated boldly after taking the job: “We can win conference championships here. We can win national championships here.”

The dismissal came the day after the Bulls concluded with a 27-3 loss to Pittsburgh. Holtz said afterward that he hoped to retain his job, reiterating that the program had made strides under his direction, including academics, that weren’t necessarily reflected in the win-loss record.

Story Continues →

View Entire Story

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
Get Adobe Flash player
You Might Also Like
  • Nathan Walker waits to take the ice during the Capitals' development camp at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington on Monday, July 9, 2012. (Ryan M.L. Young/The Washington Times)

    Nathan Walker’s NHL dreams send him around the world

  • Washington Nationals' Anthony Rendon, third from left, smiles as he warms up with his teammates who were were wearing t-shirts in support of him for the All Star game before an interleague baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles at Nationals Park, Tuesday, July 8, 2014, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

    Anthony Rendon not an All-Star, but he’s been Nats’ MVP

  • Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter speaks during a media availability in the dugout before an interleague baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park, Monday, July 7, 2014, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

    LOVERRO: Suck-up Buck Showalter needs history lesson

  • Argentina's Maxi Rodriguez, left, celebrates with goalkeeper Sergio Romero after scoring the decisive goal during the World Cup semifinal soccer match between the Netherlands and Argentina at the Itaquerao Stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Wednesday, July 9, 2014. Argentina beat the Netherlands 4-2 in a penalty shootout to reach the World Cup final. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

    Argentina beats Dutch in shootout to reach World Cup final

  • Washington Redskins safety Tanard Jackson speaks during a media availability after an NFL football training camp practice at Redskins Park, Friday, Aug. 3, 2012 in Ashburn, Va. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

    Tanard Jackson suspended indefinitely by NFL — again

  • Celebrities In The News
  • Hall of Fame Inductees, KISS, Paul Stanley, Peter Criss, Gene Simmons, and Ace Frehley speak at the 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Thursday, April, 10, 2014 in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

    KISS rocker Gene Simmons touts 1 percent life: ‘It’s fantastic’

  • This image from video released by Funny Or Die shows President Obama, left, with actor-comedian Zach Galifianakis during an appearance on "Between Two Ferns," the digital short with a laser focus on reaching people aged 18 to 34. The president urged young people to sign up for the new health care plan through an appearance posted Tuesday, March 11, 2014, on the comic website Funny or Die, bypassing TV talk show titans like Jimmy Fallon or Jimmy Kimmel for an online audience. (AP Photo/Funny Or Die)

    Obama’s ‘Ferns’ interview gets Emmy nod

  • ** FILE ** In this Nov. 12, 2013, file photo, actor Alec Baldwin leaves court in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

    Alec Baldwin in talks to play Rob Ford-like mayor in new NBC drama