Skip Holtz named head football coach
(Dec. 3, 2004)
Louis "Skip" Holtz has been appointed head football coach at East Carolina University, director of athletics Terry Holland announced during a Friday press conference at the Murphy Center.
Holtz, who has played an active role on coaching staffs which have captured seven major bowl titles in eight appearances since 1987, will officially end a six-year position on the South Carolina offensive staff.
Holtz, 40, will become East Carolina's 19th head football coach in the school's all-time history and directly succeed John Thompson, who announced his resignation Nov. 17 after compiling a two-year record of 3-20.
"We have great confidence in Skip to take over and lead our football program into a new era as its head coach," Holland said. "His background and enthusiasm make him a perfect fit for ECU, our community and the Pirate Nation. We are certainly pleased to have identified an individual of high character who has demonstrated proven qualities as a role model and leader."
Holtz completed his sixth season as South Carolina's assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach in 2004. He displayed his all-around abilities as a coach, remaining closely involved with the Gamecock offense in addition to handling a variety of duties as assistant head coach under his father, the legendary Lou Holtz.
He wore several hats during his tenure with the Gamecocks, coaching the quarterbacks his first four seasons, before handling the tight ends in 2003, before returning to guide the signal-callers this past season. He helped South Carolina to a top 50 national rank in rushing offense (168.7 ypg) while averaging 368.9 yards of total offense in 2004.
The Gamecocks ranked second in the Southeastern Conference in rushing offense in 2001, and under his tutelage, senior Phil Petty developed into a winning SEC quarterback, leading South Carolina to 17 victories in his last 23 starts, including back-to-back Outback Bowl wins over Ohio State in 2001 (24-7) and 2002 (31-28).
For his efforts during the 2001 season, Holtz was recognized as one of the winners of the Assistant Coach-of-the- Year Award by the All-American Football Foundation, and was presented with the award at the organization's annual banquet in Biloxi, Miss.
Holtz came to South Carolina after a successful five-year stint as head coach at the University of Connecticut. While at Connecticut, he led the Huskies to their best season in school history in 1998 and was recognized as one of the top young coaching talents in the country.
Holtz has been credited for developing high-powered and prolific offenses throughout his coaching career. During his last season at UConn, he led the Huskies to a school-record 10 victories and an appearance in the quarterfinal round of the NCAA Division I-AA playoffs. His team ranked 11th nationally in scoring offense, averaging nearly 36 points per game.
During his five-year tenure as head coach at Connecticut, Holtz guided the Huskies' program to national top 25 rankings the last four seasons and unprecedented success in the school's 100-year football history which provided a firm foundation for the school's eventual move to the I-A level in 2002.
The success Holtz earned on the field at Connecticut during his first head coaching tenure was matched by his involvement in the community as a successful speaker, clinician and humanitarian - often donating his time and effort to many charitabl