Now, a continuing look at the candidates for the Syracuse Head Coaching job. A full rundown of the candidates can be found here.
Now we take a look at East Carolina head coach Skip Holtz.
2005-present East Carolina (Head Coach:28-21)
2004 South Carolina (Associate Head Coach/QB Coach)
1999-2003 South Carolina (Associate Head Coach/Offensive Cooridnator)
1994-1998 UConn (Head Coach: 33-23)
1992-1993 Notre Dame (Offensive Coordinator)
1990-1991 Notre Dame (WR Coach)
1989 Colorado St (WR Coach)
1987-1988 Florida State (Graduate Assistant)
Who is he?: Holtz has been the head coach at East Carolina since 2005, racking up a 28-21 record. This season he lead the Pirates to wins over Virginia Tech and West Virginia, and a spot in the Conference USA title game this upcoming weekend. Before ECU, Holtz was on his father’s staff at South Carolina as offensive coordinator, as well as serving under his father at Notre Dame.
Holtz also was the head coach at UConn before they made the leap to D1, going 33-23 over five seasons.
What does he bring to the job?: Experience and an ability to win big games. Holtz has rescued ECU from the horrible tenure of John Thompson (of no relation to the Georgetown Thompsons) and led them to (soon to be) three bowl games in his four years there.
Beating Virginia Tech and West Virginia this past year show that Holtz can get his team prepared for games against better opponents, something that would definitely come in handy at Syracuse. Those wins have also given him even more name recognition among recruits.
Why wouldn’t he be a good fit?: Holtz hasn’t been a coach in the Northeast since 1998, which could mean he would have trouble recruiting the area. Holtz would have to establish ties through his assistants with high school coaches throughout the Northeast.
Also, like Turner Gill, there is the chance he would either want to hold out for a better job (Notre Dame) or use Syracuse as a stepping stone to something bigger. Since Charlie Weis will be returning to Notre Dame next year, Holtz would have to wait to follow in his father’s footsteps.
What are his chances?: Strong. Holtz has the pedigree and experience to be successful at Syracuse. His lack of Northeast recruiting ties is troublesome, but can probably be mitigated by the hiring of some experienced Northeast assistants. The biggest obstacle could be the Notre Dame situation. Holtz could be willing to wait a year to land in South Bend rather than taking on a huge rebuilding project like Syracuse.