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Thursday, January 14, 2010

USF decides to Skip It

Skip Holtz, formerly of the ECU Pirates, is now the head football coach at USF. I, for one, am glad to hear it. Skip has made ECU a forced to be reckoned with, certainly in Conference USA, which they've won the past two seasons, but also in the state of NC and even against the likes of WVU and Virginia Tech. I think he can be dangerous playing in the Big East and having the state of Florida at his disposal.

Skip (I suppose I should call him "Holtz" or "Coach Holtz", but dammit, his name's Skip!) has a couple of things going for him besides just his winning record. His situation at ECU had a lot in common with USF. Although it's not nearly the football state Florida is, ECU is a relative also-ran in a state where the majority of attention is paid to two public schools and one private school (Carolina, NC State, and Duke in general; Carolina, State, and Wake in football). Even without the BCS tag (though granted, none of the schools above will be mistaken for "football" schools anytime soon) he made it clear that he was a major player in the state. In fact, he (along with ECU athletics marketing) made the bold claim that this state is OURS. I'd love to see him make the same statement in Florida.

Another plus to Coach Holtz is that very last name. Skip is the son of College Football Hall of Famer, former Notre Dame coach, and ESPN commentator Lou Holtz. Daddy liked to name-drop Skip and ECU at times that didn't exactly fit; I've got no problem with USF pulling in that extra publicity.

There are a couple more interesting facts about the company we keep as this coaching carousel turns. The destinies of USF, Louisville, and Cincy are forever intertwined, as these three amigos made the trek from Conference USA into the Big East. This path continues as these three each break in new coaches in 2010. Here's hoping USF's can achieve what the other two already have: A Big East championship.

In addition, of the three top state universities in Florida--Florida, Florida State, and USF--two and a half will have new head coaches, Urban Meyer's situation at Florida notwithstanding.

Other shakeups across the country:
-Tommy Tuberville took the head position at Texas Tech. After all, their logo contains his initials.
-Pete Carroll got out of Dodge left USC for a position in the NFL with the Seahawks. I wonder if a lackluster season last year and NCAA investigators on their way had anything to do with this?
-In his place, Lane Kiffin, formerly of Tennessee, took the head coach position at USC. To hear Big Orange Nation tell it, his resignation went a little something like this:

It did lead to some good, however; in the wake of the horrific earthquake in Haiti, a Knoxville retailer is donating Lane Kiffin shirts to the recovery cause.
-At Tennessee, it's looking like Duke's David Cutcliffe, formerly of Tennessee, may be headed back. When the position became open, a friend of mine speculated that Leavitt could be a good fit. I definitely want to see Leavitt land on his feet somewhere, and perhaps Tennessee could have been the place. After all, he wouldn't choke/slap anyone there. They've got guns.
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