Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Colleges

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

RECOMMENDED READING


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.

Comments

Call Missouri jinxed, but Michael Porter Jr. injury is its own story

Please repeat after me: There is no such thing as jinxes, hexes, ghosts or cartoonish black clouds looming with personalized curses for select targets.Honest.But, boy, are there coincidences — even if some say there is no such thing as those, either....
Updated: 2 hours ago

Chip Kelly is not the best candidate for Florida job

For the sake of a beleaguered and bedraggled fan base, here’s hoping Chip Kelly becomes the next head coach of the Florida Gators even though I think he’s not a great fit — culturally, geographically and philosophically — at UF.Gator Nation needs som...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Lane Kiffin knows speculation about his future grows with each victory

BOCA RATON — Lane Kiffin already knows what profession he will choose once his coaching career ends.Kiffin, in his first season at Florida Atlantic, thinks he is destined to join the sports-media ranks. It will provide him opportunity to switch roles...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Jones: Maybe the Florida job isn’t as good as we thought

Jones: Maybe the Florida job isn’t as good as we thought

These are strange, unsettling times for the University of Florida.The Gators need themselves a football coach.They offer a terrific job. Maybe one of the best jobs in the country.Right?Uh, right? (nervous laugh)Well, we’ll soon find out. Maybe this i...
Updated: 5 hours ago
UF has little to say after meeting with Kelly

UF has little to say after meeting with Kelly

GAINESVILLE — At last, there’s some actual smoke to the Chip Kelly-Florida rumors.The Gators sent a group — including president Kent Fuchs and athletic director Scott Stricklin — to New Hampshire on Sunday to talk with the former Oregon coach about U...
Published: 11/20/17
No. 2 Miami finishes on 30-0 run, tops Virginia 44-28

No. 2 Miami finishes on 30-0 run, tops Virginia 44-28

MIAMI — After Miami clinched the first Atlantic Coast Conference Coastal Division crown in program history, upset the then-No. 3 team in the country, claimed one of the top four spots in the College Football Playoff rankings and after many of the nat...
Published: 11/18/17
Florida State routs Delaware State 77-6

Florida State routs Delaware State 77-6

TALLAHASSEE — Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher longed for his team to play in this type of game throughout its disappointing season.After Hurricane Irma caused a three-week layoff between FSU’s first two games, forcing it to play 11 in a row to finis...
Published: 11/18/17
A welcome return to dominance for the Florida defense

A welcome return to dominance for the Florida defense

GAINESVILLE — Chauncey Gardner wasn’t fooled. He saw UAB snap the ball. He saw the quarterback throw a screen. He saw the receiver fire a second pass downfield. Then a crowd of 84,649 saw the sophomore safety high-point the trick-play pass to earn hi...
Published: 11/18/17
Florida back on track with non-conference blowout of UAB

Florida back on track with non-conference blowout of UAB

GAINESVILLE — Florida’s next head coach — whether it’s odds-on favorite Chip Kelly or someone else — should be encouraged by Saturday’s 36-7 win over UAB.Not because the Gators (4-6) snapped a five-game losing streak by beating up on a 7-4 Blazers te...
Published: 11/18/17
Matt Baker’s takeaways from Florida-UAB

Matt Baker’s takeaways from Florida-UAB

1. A milestone Florida probably doesn’t want to celebrate: Johnny Townsend became the school’s all-time leading punter with his 232rd career punt. But Townsend has legitimately been one of the team’s MVPs.2. It took far too long, but UF’s tight ends ...
Published: 11/18/17