CHRONICLING ECU & C-USA SPORTS
from the 'ville
Thursday, August 24, 2006
By Al Myatt
'Skip' reveals all on the
Bonesville 'Hot Seat'
All rights reserved.
East Carolina football coach Skip Holtz is
just nine days away from the official start of his second season with the
Pirates. The likeable son of a coaching legend has created optimism for the
program's return to prominence.
(file photo by
Holtz appears to be on top of the rebuilding
process with a capable staff which has attracted some talented players in
the relatively short span that they've been recruiting to the ECU program.
You may have heard Holtz on the Pirate Club
banquet circuit this spring talking about the demanding slate ECU faces in
"It's got me sleeping like a baby," he said of
the schedule. "I wake up every two hours and cry."
Even though eight of the Pirates' opponents
went to bowls last season, there's talk of ECU making its first bowl trip
Who is the man at the controls of the Pirates'
much-anticipated resurgence? We wanted to find out more about him personally
and figured he would be ready to tackle some non-football related questions
after 20 arduous days of preseason camp.
It was sort of like the Budweiser Hot Seat,
which you may have seen on ESPN ... well, minus the brew — and without the
Q: How did you get the nickname, Skip?
A: I was Skip before I came home from the
hospital (after being born, March 12, 1964, in Willimantic, Connecticut).
I'm Louis Leo Holtz, after my dad, but he didn't want a 'Junior.' We call my
oldest son (LLH, III), Trey.
Q: Coach, how did you meet your wife (the
former Jennifer Fitzgerald of Port Charlotte, FL)?
A: At Florida State, she worked in the
football office for Bobby Bowden. When I went to Florida State to be a
graduate assistant (in 1987) she was one of the first people that I met.
Coach Bowden's secretary introduced the two of us. The rest is history. I've
chased her around ever since.
Q: How did you propose to her?
A: I proposed when we were walking on the
beach. I had written it in the sand.
Q: If ESPN was doing a one-play highlight of
your college career (at Notre Dame), what would it be?
A: Well, unfortunately it would probably be
roughing the kicker at Southern Cal (laugh). It would not be a highlight. It
would be a negative. I did some things good but that was probably the thing
I did that impacted the game the most. We ended up winning the game, but it
wasn't pretty. (laugh)
Q: What is the biggest coaching mistake you've
ever gotten away with?
A: I made so many of 'em my first year, I told
the AD (Lew Perkins at UConn) he should fire me. As a young head coach, I
made a lot of mistakes in my first year.
Note: Holtz was at UConn for five seasons. The
Huskies program was in the Division I-AA Top 25 the last four of those.
Q: Would you want to see South Carolina (where
Holtz was an assistant from 1999 to 2003) on future East Carolina football
A: If Terry Holland (ECU AD) puts it on there.
Q: What is your favorite sport other than
A: It would have to be basketball.
Q: What is your favorite pro sports team?
A: I follow players, not teams.
Q: Who is the lowest rated recruit you coached
who became a star?
A: Lake Dawson, who was a receiver at Notre
Q: Gatorade or Powerade?
Q: Team USA will win the world basketball
championship, true or false?
Q: Did you ever meet or have interaction with
Keith LeClair (former ECU baseball coach who died of Lou Gehrig's disease
A: Yes. I went hunting with Coach LeClair when
I was at South Carolina. I had an opportunity to visit with him a number of
times my first year here.
Q: What will be your lasting memory of Coach
A: I have two memories of him, Great guy when
we went to go hunting I thought the world of him. We really got along well.
And I have the memory of him as a competitor, a fighter, a Christian in his
chair with the battles that he went through every day.
Q: Did your dad (Louis Leo Holtz, Sr.) mold
you as a coach?
A: Yes, but a lot of people molded me as a
coach. I say that because Bobby Bowden molded me as a coach. Earl Bruce
(former Ohio State coach) molded me as a coach. We're all who we are because
of our upbringing and experiences in life.
Q: What was the worst trouble you were ever in
as a kid with your dad?
A: I regularly got my backside worn out.
(laugh) Never arrested or anything like that. I was always pushing the edge
as a little kid.
Q: Favorite memory from when your dad coached
A: Being around the players — the Buckey boys
(Dave and Don), Stan Fritts, Willie Burden, Johnny Evans ... being around
those guys. I was very impressionable at eight to 12 years old.
Q: What came to mind if someone said "East
Carolina" before you became the Pirates coach?
A: Overachievers. It was like you always heard
of them beating a Miami or an N.C. State. There have been a lot of great
wins in this university's history. When I was an outsider, that's when you
heard about 'em — when they would pull that big upset.
Q: What is your favorite beach?
A: Litchfield, South Carolina.
Q: What's your favorite vacation?
A: Anywhere with my family.
Q: Where's your favorite place to watch TV?
A: In my chair at the house.
Q: What kind of TV do you have, big screen or
plasma or anything like that?
A: I don't know what it is. It's a flat
Q: What is your favorite program?
A: Sports and movies. That's all I watch. I
don't watch regular TV very often. I watch ESPN or one of the movie
Q: Is there a movie star that you pay to see
on a consistent basis?
Q: Favorite recent movie?
A: I don't go to many. The one I enjoyed as
much as anything was taking the kids to "Cars."
Q: Have you read "Wins, Losses and Lessons?"
(Lou Holtz's new book)
Q: What was the best moment in preseason camp
A: The best moment was the talent show
(Tuesday night) and watching this team come together and laugh.
Q: What was the best performance in the talent
A: C.J. Wilson (freshman defensive lineman) on
Q: Will you play a back-up quarterback at Navy
(ECU's season opener on Sept. 2)?
A: Depending upon the situation.
Q: Who cuts your hair?
A: I-Yang. (Pronounced E-young)
Q: What's the longest your hair has ever been?
A: Not long.
Q: Can you outrun Drew Steele?
A: I hope.
Q: Can you outrun Mike Steele?
A: Yes. (laugh)
Q: What do you drive?
A: A Nissan Armada.
Q: Have you ever been lost in Greenville?
A: No, not yet.
Q: What do you listen to in your Armada?
A: I listen to anything. I don't know what's
in the CD now but if you pulled 'em all out, you'd go, 'Wow, there must be
five people that listen to this.' I think there's a Garth Brooks in there. I
think there's a little Top 20 thing my sister had sent me. I've got a mix of
music in there.
Q: Who mows your lawn?
A: I don't do it all the time but I like to.
I'll say I do.
Q: What is your least favorite household
A: I love working in the yard. I'm not big on
the inside chores.
Q: What is your worst recruiting faux pas?
A: My first year as a fulltime coach (1989), I
had Earl Bruce (then coach at Colorado State) with me on a recruiting trip
in Los Angeles and I got in a car accident. (laugh) I was driving.
Q: Who in college coaching do you admire the
A: Right now it would be Bobby Bowden.
Q: Who do you pay the most attention to, Lee
Corso or Kirk Herbstreit (ESPN college football commentators)?
A: Oooh. I may take the fifth. I don't want to
get beat up by the other one. (laugh)
Q: Choose a golf playing partner from your
coaching staff, if you're playing for money.
A: I got to be careful here. I don't know who
can beat who. Greg Hudson (defensive coordinator).
Q: Who is the best cook among your coaches?
A: My money would be on ... Junior Smith
(running backs coach).
Q: Most underrated restaurant in Greenville?
Q: Can you beat Terry Holland in a game of
Horse? (The seat may have gotten a little warmer on that one)
A: I'd say 'yes.' I probably should say 'no.'
(laugh) He's my boss. You can put 'yes.'
Q: Any memories of Navy as a player?
A: They played hard. They played hard.
Q: Scariest Navy player, currently?
A: I'd say the fullback. That's Adam Ballard.
He's a bull.
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