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The Bradsher Beat
Monday, February 11, 2008

By Bethany Bradsher

Coaching fraternity breeds lasting ties

By Bethany Bradsher
All rights reserved.

Dave DeGuglielmo and Skip Holtz spent seven years coaching together as fellow assistants or, for a season at Connecticut, with DeGuglielmo serving on Holtz’s staff.

But even if he once worked for Skip, DeGuglielmo has been pulling rank on his friend this past week. At least while the bragging rights are still fresh, the East Carolina coach will have to defer to the Super Bowl Champion.

It’s been a good time for DeGuglielmo to reconnect with friends like Holtz, ECU offensive coordinator Todd Fitch and strength coach Mike Golden, all buddies from his days in the college ranks. Because as the assistant offensive line coach for the New York Giants, DeGuglielmo has reached a milestone that his Greenville friends don’t share.

“He is a great friend and I miss coaching with him,” Holtz said. “I am happy for his success and I wish him the best. Big things are on the horizon for him.”

DeGuglielmo’s players on the offensive line held to the classic linemen anonymity as the unsung heroes of the Giants’ stunning 17-14 upset of the Patriots. Eli Manning played a smart game with toughness and a variety of offensive looks, but the whole offense worked in concert to set the pace and tone of the game, he said.

“They had quite a few pro bowlers, and we had one,” he said. “But the bottom line was we were hot, and they were not from the first play. We caught them at the right time. We came out believing that we could beat them.

“It was old-school, field position, smack-you-in-the-mouth kind of football, and we had the upper hand.”

Before joining the Giants staff four years ago, DeGuglielmo spent five seasons coaching the offensive line and tight ends at the University of South Carolina, where Skip Holtz was also coaching under his father Lou. And prior to that position, DeGuglielmo coached under Skip Holtz at the University of Connecticut, working with the offensive line.

“He’s a fundamental football coach, and he’s no nonsense,” Holtz said. “He pushes his players hard, but they love him. “

In both of those college posts, DeGuglielmo also worked alongside current ECU offensive coordinator Todd Fitch, who came to East Carolina from Iowa State after spending four years each at Connecticut and South Carolina. He also worked with ECU strength coach Mike Golden at both of those universities.

DeGuglielmo counts all three Pirate coaches as good friends, and he has visited Greenville several times, he said.

“Last time I was there, I went by Skip’s house, and we sat outside and talked until two in the morning,” he said. “We had so many good stories that we don’t even talk about where we are currently. We have a lot of fun when we get together.”

It was a testament to Holtz’s skills of persuasion that he convinced Fitch to join him in Greenville two years ago, DeGuglielmo said. On a game day, there is no one he would rather have engineering an offense than Fitch.

“That was one heck of a grab,” he said of Fitch. “I didn’t think Skip was going to be able to get him. Todd Fitch, truthfully, is one of the best game-day play-calling guys I’ve ever been around. He’s steady, he’s rhythmic in his calls, he understands when to go for it and when to pull back.”

There’s plenty of mutual admiration in this coaching clique, but for now DeGuglielmo can bask in his share of the world champions title. But not too much celebration, please. Head coach Tom Coughlin held his regular 7:30 a.m. staff meeting the day after the game, he said.

“One thing you know about this team, we will remain on schedule,” DeGuglielmo said.

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02/28/2008 12:52:01 AM

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