Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Florida State Hall of Famer Sue Hall is special to South Florida coach Skip Holtz, wife

TAMPA — It isn't as obvious as when USF when to his alma mater, Notre Dame, last season, but Florida State still holds a special place for USF coach Skip Holtz, whose first college coaching job was as a graduate assistant on Bobby Bowden's staff in 1987-88.

On his first day in Tallahassee, Holtz met his wife, Jennifer, then a Garnet and Gold Girl hosting recruits on visits to the Seminoles. The matchmaker that day was Sue Hall, who spent 24 years as Bowden's secretary and went on to serve as wedding coordinator for the Holtzes' 1992 ceremony in Port Charlotte.

"Skip loved to fish. I live on a lake," explained Hall, who still lives on Lake Talquin in Quincy, west of Tallahassee. "We spent many hours down here brim fishing, bass fishing, frying fish, eating. Everything we did, Jennifer came along, too, and it became a wonderful friendship, courtship, and the next thing you know they're getting married."

That friendship explains why this summer, only months before Saturday's 6 p.m. USF-FSU showdown at Raymond James Stadium, the Holtzes had a slightly smaller collection of Seminoles at their Tampa home — about 80, gathered for a retirement party for Hall, who was inducted into the FSU Athletics Hall of Fame this month.

"They were so gracious, and we had a wonderful time," said Hall, who was nominated for the Hall of Fame by Jennifer Holtz, who saw how much work her husband required of his secretary and said Hall deserved enshrinement for doing the same for Bowden for so long.

Bowden and Skip's father, Lou Holtz, go way back to 1961, when Bowden, as coach at Howard College, visited Iowa, where Holtz was a graduate assistant. The two were close enough that Lou and Beth Holtz spent their honeymoon at the Bowdens' home in Tallahassee, nearly 50 years ago.

Jennifer Holtz said Hall ("she's like another mother to me") and her husband, Charlie, (who died in August after 56 years of marriage to Sue) were a great model for a young couple — and that they now try to be the same to current USF players, some of whom didn't grow up in two-parent homes.

"Hopefully they're learning how to catch a ball and score a touchdown, but they're also learning how to be a husband and a father," she said. "I'm not by any means saying we do it 100 percent right, but here's a man who lets his wife be a part of his program. Sue and Charlie taught us a lot."

Jennifer is a proud FSU graduate ("I love that program. I love Coach Bowden. I love Sue Hall"), but she has been busy converting old sorority sisters to green and gold for the weekend and enlisting the help of Gator friends. This weekend won't be the first time she has cheered against the Seminoles. In Skip's final year on his father's staff at Notre Dame in 1993, FSU was ranked No. 1 in the nation when it visited No. 2 Notre Dame.

"Notre Dame won," Jennifer remembers.

QUOTABLE: LB Vince Williams on teammate James Wilder, the 6-foot-2, 225-pound back running back from Plant High: "When he first got here, James didn't even run like he does now. He used to (tip-toe) a lot. We'd be like, 'James, you're huge, man. Why are you tipping like that?' … (Now) He's mauling folks. I guess he got his confidence now because he's killing people. That's how we knew you could run before, man. He's just transformed."

Information from the Orlando Sentinel was used in this report.

Florida State Hall of Famer Sue Hall is special to South Florida coach Skip Holtz, wife 09/26/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 26, 2012 9:47pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. NFL Week 3: What we learned


    Take the knee … well, not NOW

     1. Photo of Roger Mooney for Times Sports.
  2. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Sunday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    RHP Chris Archer's primary problem Sunday, as in much of September, was a lack of slider command. When he can't throw it where he wants, and doesn't have the confidence in the changeup to throw it often, he can't win with just his fastball.

  3. Somehow, Rays' Chris Archer remains just shy of being an ace

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — Chris Archer had another bad game Sunday.

    Chris Archer is sputtering to the finish line, his rough start on Sunday his fourth in his past five in which he hasn’t gotten past four innings.
  4. Bradenton high school senior Chasten Whitfield inspires young anglers


    MADEIRA BEACH — The kids lined up single file, snow cones in hand, a procession of sweaty, excited grade schoolers watching Chasten Whitfield throw a cast net.

    Whitfield, a senior at Bradenton Manatee, demonstrates how to throw a cast net at the FishKids tournament in Madeira Beach. She also taught knot tying.
  5. Wreck helps Kyle Busch take control of Monster Cup's ISM 300

    Auto racing

    LOUDON, N.H. — Kyle Busch saw little but billowing white smoke that engulfed the track and blinded enough drivers that it caused a tremendous wreck that notably altered the race running order.

    Kyle Busch celebrates with a burnout after his third victory of the season that earns a berth in the second round of NASCAR’s playoffs. He also has some fun with Loudon the Lobster.