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Game No. 13: ECU 27, Tulsa 24


Holtz Watch
Sunday, December 7, 2008

By Denny O'Brien

Holtz: “I am not looking to leave”

By Denny O'Brien
All Rights Reserved.

TULSA — The talk that circulated around Greenville this week made its way to Tulsa. Speculation that Saturday might be East Carolina Coach Skip Holtz’s finale as a Pirate was a hot topic at the Conference USA championship game, with rumors of him heading to Syracuse heating up.

Holtz has been linked as a candidate to take over the Orange since the firing of Greg Robinson in November. Holtz’s father, Lou, is good friends with Syracuse athletics director Daryl Gross, and their relationship is part of the reason the ECU coach has been connected to the opening.

In the week leading up to the championship game, East Carolina athletics director Terry Holland issued a statement that there had been no official contact between Syracuse and Holtz.

Holtz also stated that he wasn’t actively pursuing another job and that the rumors were not a distraction to ECU’s preparation for the league title game.

Following the Pirates’ 27-24 victory over Tulsa in the C-USA title game, Holtz again responded to questions about his future status as ECU’s head coach.

“Is Terry (Holland) going to fire me,” Holtz asked. “I have said this time and time again. I am very happy at East Carolina. I enjoy East Carolina. We have a great group of young men that I have the opportunity to work with.

“Greenville is a great place for my family, for myself professionally. You never say never. But at the same time, it would really have to be a special situation to get me out of here. I am not looking leave. I will make that promise to you.”

“I don’t know what the future holds,” Holtz continued. “But I certainly know who holds the future and I’m going to put my faith in Him and keep working extremely hard. We’ll see where it takes us.”

Holtz is scheduled to be in New York next week for his father’s induction into the College Football Hall of Fame. Holland indicated in his statement that he will also attend.

Many other administrators, including Gross, are also expected to be at the event, which has added to speculation that Holtz will interview and possibly even accept the Syracuse job while there.

While Holtz has not publicly indicated an interest in any job, it is clear that he is high on the Syracuse wish list.

“It’s flattering,” Holtz said. “It’s very flattering to know that there are people out there who respect and are looking at the job that these young men are doing in Greenville as a football team and the way that we’ve come together.

“I think it’s a real honor for us and a privilege that people think that highly of us.”

Holtz owns a 29-21 record in four seasons at ECU after inheriting a program that went 3-20 in the two seasons prior to his arrival. He was originally viewed as a dark horse candidate after John Thompson’s firing, but immediately impressed Holland during the interview.

In each of the past three seasons he has emerged as a leading candidate at schools in BCS conferences.

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12/07/2008 04:07:29 AM

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