South Florida announced today that Skip Holtz, the son of legendary head coach Lou Holtz, has been let go after spending three years as Bulls head coach.
Holtz, who arrived in St. Petersburg after compiling a 38-27 record as East Carolina head coach, leaves South Florida with a record of 16-21, including a 3-9 mark this year.The Skip Holtz era at South Florida was arguably one of the most disappointing in Big East history—it definitely ranks close to the Steve Kragthorpe era at Louisville—as Holtz took the reins of a Bulls’ program that hadn’t posted a losing season in five years and promptly offered up two in three years on a job.
Now that Skip is looking for work (I wonder if Lou will try and use his pull at ESPN for his son), who will be the next South Florida head coach? Here are five coaches that I think USF should contact:
Brent Pease, Florida OC – Pease is in his first year as Gators offensive coordinator, and although the offense has been hit-and-miss for a portion of the season, you really cannot argue with hiring a coach from a team with an 11-1 record. While his connections within the Sunshine State will more than likely be fresh (most of his work has been on the West Coast), Pease will more than likely get a look.
Chad Morris, Clemson OC – One of the hottest names in the assistant coaching world, Morris has already gotten a look for head coaching positions, including NC State. It looks like Morris is waiting for the perfect job before he jumps, which is clearly the right move; would a head coaching position in one of the hottest recruiting beds in the nation be enough to tempt him?
Tom O’Brien, former NC State HC – Say what you will about O’Brien, but having him as a coach pretty much guarantees you a .500 record year in and year out. O’Brien has experience coaching in the Big East from his time at Boston College (the Eagles were in the Big East for eight of his ten seasons with the team), so don’t be surprised if the team contacts him and sees if he is interested.
Rick Stockstill, Middle Tennessee HC – A former quarterback at Florida State, Stockstill served as an assistant under Danny Ford, Lou Holtz, and Steve Spurrier before landing the Blue Raiders head coaching job after the 2005 season. Now at the end of his seventh season, Stockstill has been fairly successful in Murfreesboro, posting a 43-44 record during that time. The 2012 Blue Raiders finished the season with a 8-4 record—including a win over Georgia Tech—but somehow did not land a bowl invitation; will this snub be enough to cause Stockstill to begin searching for greener pastures.
Butch Davis, former North Carolina HC – It’s always fun to throw a long-shot into play, and Davis is just that in this search. Davis had a great deal of success coaching in Florida during his run as Miami head coach, going 51-20 in six seasons before bolting for the NFL. While the scandal he left behind in Chapel Hill will definitely leave room for plenty of criticisms, what can’t be criticized is how he transformed the Tar Heels on the field, leading a team that was arguably alongside Duke as the weakest in the ACC into a consistent 8-5 team. USF officials would take some heat immediately after this hire was made, but it would all go away once the Bulls started winning.