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Nuggets of Gold
Thursday, November 22, 2007
By Adam Gold
Adam Gold is program director of the Triangle's "850 the Buzz" and host of "The G-spot with Adam Gold" mornings from 6-10 a.m.


'Tis the season

By Adam Gold
All rights reserved.

UNC-Chapel Hill and head football coach Butch Davis have agreed to a one-year contract extension and a raise of $291,000.

North Carolina athletic director Dick Baddour announced the decision just prior to the holiday weekend and it represents a pre-emptive strike towards any school (um, the University of Arkansas) that might have had designs on hiring Davis away from Chapel Hill.

In the world of college football, “‘Tis the season” has nothing to do with the Christmas spirit. One-time power Southern Methodist fired Phil Bennett last month, Baylor jettisoned Guy Morriss last week and Michigan head coach Lloyd Carr retired after the Wolverines’ latest loss to arch-rival Ohio State. The onslaught has just begun.

So, how does this effect Pirate Nation?

That’s easy.

Skip Holtz is going to be on an awful lot of search lists. The more openings there are, the greater the chances that Skip’s name comes up, thus the greater likelihood that someone piques his interest enough to open the bidding.

We know for a fact that three schools will be making a list. But how many others will join the party?

At the upper reaches of the sport, it’s a safe bet that Nebraska and Texas A&M pull plugs on Bill Callahan and Dennis Franchione, respectively. In fact, my guess is that there’s a greater chance of a third term for George W. Bush than either of those coaches returning for another tumultuous year in their current jobs.

UCLA is a good bet to join the search party as Karl Dorrell hasn’t done much to endear himself to the Bruin faithful. The buzz of last year’s shocking upset of Southern Cal has long since worn off. It might have had something to do with the seven-turnover loss to Notre Dame at the Rose Bowl.

Houston Nutt has long-been rumored to be on his way out at Arkansas, hence the reason for North Carolina’s decision to reward a three-win head coach with a raise.

And, it wouldn’t shock anyone if Tennessee, Clemson, Georgia Tech or Syracuse opted to make a change.

Back to how this complicates Terry Holland’s holiday plans.

Skip Holtz has done a great job with the Pirates. East Carolina is in the process of returning to the level of play that the Purple and Gold had become accustomed to under Bill Lewis and Steve Logan, before the latter overstayed his time by a couple of seasons.

John Thompson did plenty of damage to the program, but it wasn’t lasting since Holland didn’t allow the program to fester very long before pulling the plug and ushering in the Holtz era.

But these days, no amount of success goes unnoticed. And even though the Pirates have coughed up what could have very well been a 10-win, league championship season and a berth in the Liberty Bowl, Holtz has a great reputation around the country. And in case you haven’t noticed, his last name is HOLTZ.

Will Michigan call? Probably not, though it’s not out of the realm of possibility. Same goes for A & M, or Nebraska, or UCLA, or Arkansas — though I do recall another Holtz spending some quality time with the Razorbacks.

The coaching carousel is a wild ride. It spins violently and things tend to happen fast. Consider this scenario:
Michigan hires Les Miles away from LSU, which hires Steve Spurrier from South Carolina, which turns to its former offensive coordinator, Skip Holtz.

Plausible? You bet.

You see what the carousel does? It creates two additional openings with one retirement. So even though there might be only a handful of firings/retirements, there’s no telling how many athletic directors will take a peek in their side drawer at that list that contains potential candidates to usher in the next great era of old State U.

As we enter this season, I’ll guarantee this much: Terry Holland has a list, and I’ll bet you Santa’s milk and cookies he’s been checking it twice over the last couple of weeks.


11/21/2007 11:53:06 PM

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