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Monday, December 3, 2012

Holtz Out

In early 2010, a pair of teams met on the gridiron, in Canada, no less: USF and Northern Illinois. If someone would have said at that point that one of those teams would find themselves in a BCS bowl in the next three years, smart money would have been on the team in an AQ conference. You would have been wrong.

The two teams' paths have diverged greatly in that time. Northern Illinois has gotten better each year, progressing first to a loss in the MAC championship, then a conference championship victory, and this year winning the conference and heading to the BCS. USF, conversely, has gotten worse each year, posting 8-5, 5-7, and 3-9 records, below .500 in the Big East each year.

That bowl game was the last game that Jim Leavitt, to that point the only coach the program had ever known, would coach for the Bulls. Following his firing in response to a locker room incident, Skip Holtz was brought in less than two weeks later. In addition to the off-field issue, Leavitt's final few years had become characterized by a midseason slump, each dooming the conference season before the Bulls were even in the running. Holtz brought with him a promising track record from East Carolina and many, myself included, thought he was the pick to take USF football to the next level.

Having fallen short of that mark, expectations, and even USF's worst season to date, Holtz was relieved of his duties following the season finale versus Pittsburgh. And while I'm typically uncomfortable calling for someone's livelihood, the program had diminished into one of which it had become impossible to be proud. It was time, and while I wish him the best wherever he may land, he was not the man for our program.

Now USF's in the hunt for a head coach. Because it seems what you're supposed to do, I'll take this moment to point out that Jon Gruden has experience coaching in that very stadium. Seriously, though, USF AD Doug Woolard is currently 1-1 with our revenue sport hires, hitting a jackpot with basketball's Stan Heath. Here's hoping this next hire emulates that S. H.
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