RUSTON, La.(Courtesy Tech) - Louisiana Tech University President Dr. Dan Reneau introduced former University of South Florida coach Skip Holtz as the 33rd head football coach at Louisiana Tech during a press conference Friday in the Jarrell Room of the Charles Wyly Athletic Center.
Holtz had spent the past three seasons as the head football coach at the University of South Florida. He has also served as the head coach at the University of Connecticut and East Carolina University where he won back-to-back Conference USA titles with the Pirates in 2008 and 2009. He also led his teams to five consecutive post-season bowl games between 2006 and 2010.
"I am extremely excited about the opportunity to have a coach of the caliber and experience of Skip Holtz leading our football program into the future," said Reneau. "The success he has had throughout his career as a head coach is solid and will offer a unique opportunity for our student-athletes to learn from one of the best."
"It's a privilege to welcome Coach Holtz and his family to Louisiana Tech and to the Louisiana Tech Family."
Holtz was hired following a national search led by Louisiana Tech President-Elect Dr. Les Guice. He takes over for former head coach Sonny Dykes who resigned last week to accept the head coaching job at the University of California. Holtz's hire is pending approval from the University of Louisiana System's Board of Supervisors.
The entire search committee comprised of Dr. James Liberatos, chair of the Athletics Council and faculty athletics representative, and dean of the College of Applied and Natural Sciences; Steve Davison, Athletics Council member and Louisiana Tech alumnus; Bruce Van De Velde, athletics director; Dr. Jim King, vice president for student affairs; Dr. Terry McConathy, vice president for academic affairs; and William Dearmon, student government president, assisted Guice in the identification and vetting of candidates.
"Coach Holtz is a talented coach with a solid record of success and experience," said Guice. "He has great knowledge of the game, tremendous character, exceptional leadership abilities, and a professional approach that will serve him well as head coach at Louisiana Tech.
"I am confident that Coach Holtz can continue the positive trajectory of our football program as we move into Conference USA and our fans can expect to see an exciting brand of football."
Holtz has participated in 15 postseason games in his coaching career, including seven as a head coach and eight as an assistant coach. Of the seven games as head coach, five occurred in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) and two occurred in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).
"I am tremendously excited for the opportunity to build on what Coach Dykes started and to lead this great team forward," said Holtz. "This is a football program with outstanding student athletes, a history of winning and optimism in the future. In my conversations with the administration and search committee, it became clear that we share the same goal: to achieve a consistent record of excellence and a national reputation for winning with integrity.
"We also share the same values of loyalty and community. That's why I'm so pleased to be to be joining Louisiana Tech - an institution of enormous pride and spirit that shares that pride with the University family, its alumni, and the surrounding community and state. I'm honored to be part of the Bulldogs family and I'm ready to get to work."
"Coach Holtz possesses all the skills, abilities and background to successfully lead the Louisiana Tech football program," said Van De Velde. "He is dedicated to the total development of student-athletes and his experience and success will allow him to provide great leadership and vision for our football program going forward."
"Our football team and student body each presented our committee with a list of characteristics they would like to see in Tech's next head coach," said Davison. "We agreed and are very confident that Coach Holtz meets and greatly exceeds all of these characteristics."
"Coach Holtz is absolutely the right person for Louisiana Tech," said Liberatos. "It is clear to me that he will continue to move our program to higher levels of success, both academically and athletically."
As the son of College Football Hall of Famer and national championship winning head coach Lou Holtz, Skip Holtz has been around college football all his life. He began his coaching career at Florida State in 1987 as a graduate assistant under legendary Seminoles coach Bobby Bowden. After one year under Bowden, Holtz left to become the wide receivers coach at Colorado State University.
In 1990, he left Colorado State for Notre Dame, where he had played football as a wide receiver and on special teams, to become the wide receivers coach for the Fighting Irish and later the team's offensive coordinator. As offensive coordinator, Holtz amassed a record of 40-8-1.
Holtz's success as a position coach and coordinator at Notre Dame led to his hire as the head coach of the Connecticut Huskies following the 1993 season. He achieved a record of 34-23 in his five years as head coach, leading the Huskies to NCAA Division I-AA Quarterfinals in his final season. Off the field, Holtz was honored in 1996 with the National Football Foundation Man of the Year Award and was a member of the Foundation's ethics committee. He was also the recipient of the Franciscan Life Center's St. Francis Award in 1995 - an honor given for his dedication and support of Christian values and outstanding athletic achievements.
After five successful years at the University of Connecticut, Holtz returned to coach with his father, this time in the Southeastern Conference as the offensive coordinator at the University of South Carolina. Holtz's success continued at South Carolina where he was named the 2001 Assistant Coach-of-the-Year by the All-American Football Foundation.
In 2004, Holtz's success propelled him to the head coaching job at East Carolina University where he immediately began rebuilding a program that had won just three of its previous 25 games. The Pirates won five games that first season, going 4-4 in conference play, and would be the only losing season for East Carolina under Holtz's leadership.
Over the next four seasons, Holtz would lead East Carolina to a record of 33-21 (28-12 in conference games), four consecutive post-season bowl games, and two consecutive Conference USA titles. He was also the first head coach in Conference USA history to defeat three nationally ranked teams in a row - #24 Boise State in the 2007 Hawai'i Bowl, and #17 Virginia Tech and #8 West Virginia in the first two games of the 2008 season.
In 2008, Holtz led the Pirates to a #14 ranking in the BCS and was named Conference USA's Coach of the Year.
Holtz left East Carolina in 2010 to become head coach at the University of South Florida, leading the Bulls to an 8-5 mark in his first season and a 31-26 win over Clemson in the Meineke Car Care Bowl - USF's first ever victory over a BCS team in a post season bowl game.
In addition to his commitment to coaching football, Holtz is also deeply involved with the annual Drew Steele-Skip Holtz Golf Classic which honors Drew Steele, who has Down syndrome and is the son of former East Carolina basketball coach Mike Steele. The spring golf tournament benefits citizens of Pitt County, North Carolina with special needs.
Holtz and his wife Jennifer have two sons, Trey and Chad, and one daughter, Hailey.