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TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Skip Holtz has been fired as South Florida's football coach following the worst season in the program's 16-year history, a person familiar with the decision said Sunday.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the firing would not be announced until a late afternoon news conference.
The son of former Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz went 16-21 at the Big East school, concluding a three-year run by losing nine of 10 to finish a school-worst 3-9, 1-6 in the conference, following a 2-0 start.
The move comes 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.
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 three 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 academically, that weren't necessarily reflected in the win-loss record.
Injuries hurt this year's team, particularly on offense, where the Bulls lost quarterback B.J. Daniels, No. 3 on the Big East's career total yardage list, and red-shirt freshman Matt Floyd started the last two games. By the end of Saturday's loss, tight end/emergency backup QB Evan Landi was playing.
Pitt limited the Bulls to a USF record-low 117 yards, including 8 rushing. The offense scored one touchdown in the final 15 quarters of the season and USF was outscored 94-22 in the final three games of the season.
"Just a very frustrating night, a very frustrating year," Holtz, who's 88-70 overall in 13 seasons at Connecticut, East Carolina and USF, said after the game.
"There's been a lot of hard work that has gone into this. ... But I also understand that we've put some people in a very tough position with where we are, and I understand the nature of this business is to win games," Holtz added. "People don't really care if you're on a fourth quarterback, your fifth defensive end or how many freshmen you're playing. They want to win."
Northern Illinois is now looking for a HC as their former HC left for NCST yesterday.This is exactly why I have been preaching, as much as I didn't think much of BK prior to this season, he had to be successful. There is no one else out there to turn the magic on in South Bend. Not Skip. Not Tommy Clements. Not Gruden. BK had to work out and I think we don't have to worry about that any longer.
Why not call Boston col? It might be interseting to face a Holtz every year. I think Skip likes the warm weather as opposed to the 10 below temps in Boston.
Careful we all thought that after Weis's first and second years.Kelly's true test might actually be the next 3-5 years.If we are consistently in the BCS hunt then BK was the right guy.What if we loose bad in the NC game and go back to our 7-5 seasons,then what.
We have seen yearly improvement and development under BK and he has recruited the needed positions. For whatever reasons, BK got the much needed training diet that the players needed, plus, BK seems to have more control over issues with his players than CW ever had. Tommy might have been shown the door 5 years ago. BK has a successful track record. CW never did and still doesn't. I still remember "Pass Right" and "Hannah & Friends" though, and will always wish Charlie the best. Once a Domer, always a Domer.
I don't see one thing similar between weis & bks 1st 3 years or anything they did before they got the ND head coaching job to begin with.
It's interesting that people thought we were getting a great coach with Kelly because of his offensive "system." But, not surprisingly, what worked at Cincinnati with a Cincinnati-level schedule didn't work all that well at Notre Dame.
But the good thing is that Brian Kelly figured it out and adapted. And so we've become successful again playing Notre Dame football--strong defense, balanced running and passing with some mobility at the QB position. Kelly deserves a lot of credit for making these adjustments as he could easily have kept trying force his system on the program. Now let's see if he can game plan (for Alabama) on the level of the great Ara Parseghian.
I believe that Res Life giving up much of its responsibilities with players to BK has helped. CW , on his way out, complained that Res Life was a sore spot for the program. The nutrition is now better under BK, thanks to a better dinner table that BK insisted on. BK adjusting to the team's talent and great recruiting are all reasons why he is not Tyrone and/or Charlie. Plus, the most important part...the kids are still graduating in mind numbing numbers. There is no program anywhere that has it all together and has all the right priorities like that tiny Catholic university in NW Indiana. Father Sorin would be extremely proud.
Interestingly, there seems to be an urban legend that there has never been a training table at Notre Dame. When I was an athlete at ND there was a training table (quite a while ago!). Somewhere along the way this must have been dropped.
Training table myths aside (come on; it was there...all you had to do was go...now it is "mandatory")...
--- Kelly was our only option at the time...
--- everybody else any good wasn't interested because of the constraints, or didn't "fit" the ND image (like big mouth Davie or alum Weis or PC Willingham).
Kelly will be here for a long time, and I said it last year before, well before, we ever ran the table.
I wouldn't know about the training table angle because I was never a student or athlete at ND. I get my info from ND radio, ND post game shows, and reading ND pieces. If those sources say that Res Life was an obstacle for all Head Coaches at ND prior to BK, then that's what I go on. If these sources say that BK has modified and improved the ND football training table, then that's what I go by. All in all, IMHO, the training table, Res Life handing over some of their duties to BK, and recruiting have all been solid contributors to 2012 and beyond. I was mad as hell at BK after Tulsa and USF. Still am. 12-0 makes my hurt feelings feel much better.
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