Skip Holtz: 'We want to win championships'

15

January

Vowing to roll his sleeves up and sell the excitement, Skip Holtz set a new course for the USF program as the school's new football coach.

"We came to the University of South Florida because we want to win championships; we want to bring the national championship to Tampa," Holtz said at his introductory news conference today.

Holtz, son of former Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz, agreed to a five-year contract worth $9.1 million plus incentives. He said he was formally offered the job Thursday.

"That invitation was offered, about three seconds later I accepted," Holtz said.

Holtz has been a head coach for 10 seasons, five each at Connecticut and East Carolina, compiling a 72-50 record. He led East Carolina to the past two Conference USA titles. As much as he enjoyed his time at East Carolina, he didn't hold back his excitement about the opportunity at USF, flying in Thursday night for today's formal announcement.

"It would have been a lot harder on me to see that plane take off without me than it was to say goodbye to my Pirate family," he said.

Holtz was hired to replace Jim Leavitt, the only coach in the program's history who was fired a week ago after 13 seasons. Leavitt was fired after a USF investigation, conducted with the help of an outside labor attorney, concluded he choked and slapped walk-on player Joel Miller at halftime of the Nov. 21 game against Louisville. Leavitt has vehemently denied the charge.

"We have found a perfect match with our values," USF President Judy Genshaft said at the start of the news conference.

Leavitt's firing created a rift in the USF football community behind those who back the coach and those who think he crossed a line with Miller, who initially backed the coach but now seeks a public apology.

Holtz made a point of citing Leavitt's work in building USF's program from the ground up.

[Last modified: Thursday, May 27, 2010 7:56pm]

    

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