Skip Holtz was hired as the University of South Florida's second head football coach on Jan. 14, 2010.
In his first season, Holtz promptly led the Bulls to their fifth consecutive eight-win season, making them one of just 15 teams nationally that had won at least eight games during that timespan and one of only 10 teams in BCS leagues to accomplish the feat. In addition, USF played in its sixth consecutive bowl game, a 31-26 victory over Clemson in the Meineke Car Care Bowl. At the time, USF was one of just six programs nationally that had reached postseason play in each year as a BCS league member. In addition, with the victory, USF was one of just four programs that had won three consecutive bowl games.
In 2010, USF accomplished numerous firsts under Holtz. The Bulls won at Cincinnati and at Louisville for the first time in program history and beat Rutgers in Tampa for the first time. In addition, USF traveled to Miami and defeated the Hurricanes in an overtime thriller, 23-20, marking the Bulls first win over Miami in program history.
The 2011 season showed major improvement on the field, if not in the record, as USF finished 5-7 thanks to numerous heartbreaking defeats. After starting 4-0, including a huge win at Notre Dame to open the season, the Bulls dropped six of their final seven games by a combined 28 points or 4.7 points per game. Included in those six losses were four 3-point defeats, three of which came on the final play of the game. USF was the only team in the nation that lost three games at the final gun.
Looking passed the wins and losses, the Bulls improved in virtually every statistical category, especially on offense. USF improved its national ranking in total offense 75 spots from 2010 to 2011, the largest jump of any school in the country. The biggest improvement came in the passing game, where USF improved by 85 yards per game. Only two teams saw a greater jump in the passing offense national rankings. In addition, the Bulls improved 39 spots in rushing offense. Defensively, the Bulls finished second nationally in TFL and fourth in sacks and in the top 40 in run defense, total defense and scoring defense.
Holtz came to USF after five seasons at East Carolina, where he won back-to-back Conference USA Championships in 2008 and ‘09 and finished with a 38-27 record. Holtz also spent five years as head coach at Connecticut, where he amassed a 34-23 record.
Holtz led ECU to unprecedented heights, including four-straight winning seasons, a quartet of bowl game appearances and the back-to-back league crowns.
A once-proud program, Holtz quickly revived the Pirates, which had stumbled to record just three wins in a 25-game period in the two-plus seasons prior to his arrival in 2005.
He promptly instilled a sense of pride, commitment, character and discipline into a Pirate team that went on to reward its loyal and passionate fan base with the school's first-ever run of four consecutive bowl invitations and the program's first four-year streak of winning seasons since the 1970s.
The drastic turnaround at ECU, which included a 7-6 finish in 2006, an 8-5 ledger in 2007, a 9-5 mark in 2008 and another nine-win campaign in 2009, coincided with dramatic school-record attendance increases at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.
While the initial success in 2005 relied heavily on a wide-open offensive assault, it was a no-nonsense and fundamentally-sound defensive effort that launched the Pirates back into college football's competitive arena a year later.
Holtz followed by using a combination of both in 2007, offering a well-balanced offense and a run-stopping, ball-hawking defense to lead East Carolina to its highest Conference USA win total in school history at that time. The Pirates ended up just one victory shy of earning a berth in the league championship game, despite playing one of the toughest schedules in program history, which was loaded with four Bowl Championship Series members.
In addition to guiding ECU to its first postseason win since 2000 with a 41-38 victory over No. 24 Boise State in the Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl, Holtz fine-tuned the efforts of running back Chris Johnson, who was college football's national statistical champion in all-purpose yards. Johnson also became the program's second first-round draft choice (first since 1992) when the Tennessee Titans selected him with their initial pick in April, 2008. Johnson went on to be named the 2009 NFL Offensive Player of the Year.
In 2008, Holtz earned Conference USA Coach of the Year honors, while leading the Pirates to a spot in the Conference USA Championship game. ECU defeated Tulsa to claim the program's first conference title in 32 years, earning a bid to the AutoZone Liberty Bowl. During that season, Holtz led the Pirates to a No. 14 ranking in the polls and victories over No. 17 Virginia Tech and No. 8 West Virginia.
Holtz continued his success at East Carolina in 2009, leading the Pirates to a second consecutive Conference USA Championship. They became the first team in C-USA Championship game history to post consecutive victories.
Prior to his time in Greenville, Holtz spent six seasons at South Carolina. He wore several hats during his tenure with the Gamecocks, coaching the quarterbacks his first four seasons, before handling the tight ends in 2003 and then returning to guide the signal-callers in ‘04. He displayed his all-around abilities as a coach in working closely with the Gamecock offense in addition to handling a variety of duties as assistant head coach under his father, the legendary Lou Holtz.
While at South Carolina, Holtz was recognized as an Assistant Coach-of-the-Year in 2001 by the All-American Football Foundation. That year, the Gamecocks ranked second in the Southeastern Conference in rushing offense, and under Holtz's tutelage, senior Phil Petty went on to lead 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 ‘02 (31-28).
Holtz came to South Carolina after a successful five-year stint as head coach at fellow BIG EAST school, Connecticut. While at UConn, he led the Huskies to their best season in school history, up to that point, 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 Connecticut, he led the Huskies to a then-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 UConn, 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 FBS 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 charitable and educational organizations. He served as the honorary chairman for Camp Courant in Hartford for four consecutive years, helping fund-raising efforts to send more than 1,000 under-privileged area children to recreational and educational camps during the summer. Holtz was also actively involved with the American Diabetes Association, serving as an honorary chairman and member of the Board of Trustees for two years.
Holtz was honored in 1996 with the National Football Foundation Man-of-the-Year Award and was a member of the Foundation's ethics committee. He was also the recipient of the Franciscan Life Center's St. Francis Award in 1995, an honor given for his dedication and support of Christian values and outstanding athletic achievements.
Prior to taking the head coaching job at UConn, Holtz worked on the offensive staff under his father at Notre Dame. He spent four years at Notre Dame and served as the Fighting Irish's offensive coordinator during the 1992 and ‘93 seasons.
During those years, Holtz was in charge of one of the country's most potent offensive attacks - a period in which the Irish compiled a 21-2-1 record. The 1992 Notre Dame offense ranked third nationally in total offense, averaging better than 470 yards per game. The 1993 Irish offense, despite the loss of All-America running backs Jerome Bettis and Reggie Brooks, ended the season ranked No. 9 in scoring offense (36.6 points per game). During Holtz's two seasons as offensive coordinator at Notre Dame, the Irish offense averaged nearly 37 points per game.
Holtz has also served on the coaching staffs at Florida State and Colorado State. While serving on Bobby Bowden's FSU staff in 1987 and ‘88, the Seminoles rolled to a 22-2 record, captured the Sugar and Fiesta Bowl titles and earned a No. 2 and No. 3 national rank, respectively.
In all, he has been involved in eight New Year's Day bowl games during his coaching career. Prior to his stint at South Carolina, the overall record of teams he had been associated with as an assistant coach was an impressive 67-15-2.
Born March 12, 1964, in Willimantic, Conn., Louis "Skip" Holtz spent the first two years of his life in Connecticut, while his father served as the top football assistant on the Huskies' staff from 1964-65. He was a prep quarterback at Fayetteville (Ark.) High School, while his father was the head coach at the University of Arkansas.
He attended Holy Cross Junior College in South Bend, Ind., for two years before transferring to Notre Dame in 1984. Holtz earned his bachelor's degree in business management in 1986 and was a football letterwinner for the Irish that same year, appearing in all 11 games as a special teams member and backup flanker.
Skip and his wife, Jennifer, are the parents of three children: Louis Leo (Trey) Holtz III, Chad Fitzgerald Holtz and Hailey Elizabeth Holtz.