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News Nuggets, 11.19.04
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Compiled from staff reports and electronic dispatches

Holtz paves way for ascension of Spurrier at South Carolina


11.18.04: No separate divisions planned for future Big East ... Old nemesis stands in Utes' path to BCS bid ... More...
11.17.04: National talent hunt lands 12 diamond prospects for ECU ... BCA tourney takes on distinct Wolfpack flare ... More...
11.16.04: Badiane joins Heels' Felton on one-game suspension ... BCS football rankings ... AP college basketball poll ... More...
11.15.04: C-USA standings, scoreboard, schedule & TV ... Utes close in on BCS berth ... AP football poll ... More...
11.14.04: Cancer-stricken USF basketball player to miss season ... College football weekend: stars & storylines ... More...
11.13.04: Herrion seals the deal with New Jersey prep target ... Tigers tune up for Pirates with win over USM ... More...
11.12.04: Cook, Badiane fuel ECU win in final preseason test ... Hard-luck Louisville big man lost for season ... More...
11.11.04: Spurrier signals desire for warm weather college job ... LeFors leads Louisville rout of Horned Frogs ... More...
11.10.04: Wednesday primetime preview: TCU at Louisville ... CIAA basketball lands national TV package ... More...
11.09.04: Frogs hopping backwards from BCS territory ... Utah slips in BCS poll despite latest big win ... More...
11.08.04: C-USA standings, scoreboard, schedule & TV ... Associated Press college football poll ... More...
11.07.04: Roundup: Bearcats shoot down Golden Eagles ... College football weekend: stars & storylines ... More...
11.06.04: USM poised to increase its dominance of C-USA ... Juggernaut Utah team downplays distractions ... More...
11.05.04: Pirates overpower Newberry in preseason warmup ... Cardinals gun down Memphis in wild shootout ... More...
11.04.04: Pirates poised to hit hardwood amidst news aplenty ... Primetime TV preview: Louisville at Memphis ... More...
11.03.04: Primetime TV preview: South Florida at UAB ... Almond back in the saddle for No. 21 Southern Miss ... More...
11.02.04: Army game once again the charm for ECU honors ... No. 25 Miners digging out of rut under Price ... Tar Heels savor first victory over Top 5 opponent ... More...
11.01.04: C-USA standings, scoreboard, schedule & TV ... Associated Press college football poll ... More...

COLUMBIA — Lou Holtz will retire as coach at South Carolina after the season, The Associated Press learned Thursday night, apparently paving the way for Steve Spurrier to replace him.

Holtz told his team before Thursday's practice that he was retiring, according to a source close to the program who spoke on condition of anonymity. All season, the 67-year-old Holtz said he was worn out and tired, and even said Spurrier would be a good choice to succeed him.

The Tennessean of Nashville reported Thursday that Spurrier had agreed to take over at South Carolina, if and when Holtz stepped down.

An announcement regarding Spurrier, who won a national championship at Florida, is expected next week, the newspaper said, citing an anonymous source close to the situation.

South Carolina athletic director Mike McGee would not confirm or deny whether Holtz had decided to retire or Spurrier had been approached to replace him.

Several calls to Spurrier's agent, Memphis-based Jimmy Sexton, were not returned.

After practice Thursday evening, Holtz drove his golf cart from the practice field to the stadium to speak with a group of fans gathered to wish the team well before it leaves for Clemson on Friday. The coach thanked them for their support. ``It's always meant a lot to me,'' he said.

When asked if he had told his players, Holtz jumped in the cart and sped back to his office.

Holtz is the eighth-winningest coach in Division I with 249 victories at six schools. He took each school — William & Mary, North Carolina State, Arkansas, Minnesota, Notre Dame and South Carolina — to bowls in his second season after inheriting losing teams.

This week, as the Gamecocks (6-4, 4-4 Southeastern Conference) prepared for Saturday's game with Clemson, Holtz addressed reports that South Carolina contacted Spurrier.

``I've talked to Steve,'' Holtz said. ``I don't want to go in that direction, but I have talked to him. We talked about how you cure a slice, his son, etc. Steve's a good friend of mine, as I said. All I want to talk about is Clemson, Clemson, Clemson. That's all. That's the only thing on my mind.''

There was much speculation that Spurrier would return to Florida next season, following the recent firing of Ron Zook. But Spurrier pulled out of the running, saying 12 years at one school was probably enough.

Next season, Florida is scheduled to play at South Carolina on Nov. 12.

Spurrier and Holtz are friends. Spurrier helped Holtz's wife, Beth, obtain an appointment with Florida's NCAA faculty adviser, Dr. Nicholas Cassisi, for treatment for her throat cancer. When Beth Holtz was in the university's surgical center for several weeks, Spurrier's wife, Jerri, checked on her several times to see what she needed.

``He didn't have to do any of that,'' Holtz said in 1999. ``He's got a million other things on his mind. I was out of coaching.''

Spurrier, 59, went 20-13-1 in three seasons at Duke before taking over at Florida, his alma mater, in 1990. The Gators won six Southeastern Conference championships and the 1996 national title under Spurrier. He posted 122 victories over 12 seasons, tormented opponents with his offensive flair and witty one-liners, and left town with the best winning percentage in league history.

Spurrier abruptly left after the 2001 season, taking over the Washington Redskins. Spurrier resigned after two seasons with a 12-20 record.

South Carolina has qualified for a bowl game — the third in Holtz's six seasons. It was expected that Holtz would lead the Gamecocks in the postseason before stepping aside. A victory would be his third bowl win at South Carolina when no other coach in the school's 112 seasons of football had more than one.

Holtz will leave far short of the goals he laid out in 1998 — he told Gamecock fans that they deserved at least one SEC and one national title in his subsequent tenure at South Carolina — but feels he's left the program in good enough shape for Spurrier to finish the job.

Holtz said Monday the program was flush in young vibrant players like quarterback Syvelle Newton, receiver Troy Williamson and tailback Demetris Summers. In addition, Holtz said the players were disciplined, academically talented and committed to winning titles.

That's not how it looked after Holtz left Notre Dame in 1996, then stunned college football by taking over 1-10 South Carolina. Holtz went 0-11 in his first year.

But then he turned the program around, and the Gamecocks went on the best two-year run in their history, going 8-4 in 2000 and 9-3 in 2001 and beating Ohio State in the Outback Bowl after each season.

It appeared the team was ready to challenge Florida, Georgia and Tennessee in the SEC East. But South Carolina reached only five wins by October in 2002 and 2003.

At the end of last season, Holtz fired four assistants who had been with him since the start at South Carolina and took offensive control away from his son, Skip.

Holtz began weekly sessions with players in a yearlong project he called ``changing the culture'' at South Carolina. And while things haven't been perfect — there's a 43-29 loss to Tennessee on Oct. 30 and a 48-14 defeat at Florida a week ago — Holtz apparently felt comfortable enough to step down.

Mountain West Conference bonanza rides on Utah-BYU game

SALT LAKE CITY — A lot is riding on Saturday's game between No. 5 Utah and Brigham Young — for six teams that aren't even playing in it.

If the Utes complete the regular season undefeated and hang on for a Bowl Championship Series game and its $14 million-plus paycheck, the money would be shared by all eight members of the Mountain West. That's a nice sum for schools that operate on a fraction of the budget of some of the Division I-A powers.

``If we win,'' Utah athletic director Chris Hill said. ``Let's just hope that's what happens. I don't want to get ahead of myself.''

Utah (10-0, 6-0) has to get past rival BYU (5-5, 4-2), then worry about its BCS position. If Utah is still in the top six when the final BCS standings are released after the conference championship games, the Utes would be the first team from a mid-major conference to crack the BCS lineup.

In the six years of the Bowl Championship Series, only teams from the Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10, Southeast, Atlantic Coast and Big East conferences and independent Notre Dame have played in the four top bowls. The league champions are guaranteed a spot in the games — the Orange, Rose, Sugar and Fiesta bowls.

This season, the Orange will feature the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the BCS standings.

The payout for each of the BCS games is more than $14 million and the pot could increase, depending on the profits. In a normal season, only Mountain West teams that play in the league's three contracted bowl games — the Liberty, Las Vegas and Emerald — share the profits. That would be roughly $2.9 million split three ways. A fourth bowl could be added if there are enough Mountain West teams with six wins.

This has hardly been a normal season, but the league is prepared if a member gets one of the coveted two at-large bids. The non-bowl teams in the MWC would get about $1 million, the schools playing in the smaller bowls would receive a larger share and the BCS participant would take in about $6 million.

More importantly, MWC commissioner Craig Thompson said it would break the BCS trend of only having schools from the big six conferences play in the biggest postseason games.

``It's another step toward our ultimate goal of annual BCS automatic qualification,'' Thompson said.

BYU would probably lose a little money by winning Saturday, but that isn't a factor in the Holy War — as the annual battle between the state university and the private school owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is known.

``There's a lot at stake for everybody. The biggest thing is just the bragging right of the city and that state,'' BYU coach Gary Crowton said. ``Our team is not worried about what's happening to the other team. We're just worried about our team and that's the way it should be.''

BYU is the only other MWC school to have ever even considered the BCS to be a possibility. Three years ago, the Cougars opened the season 12-0 and appeared to be heading for a beef with the BCS because they were going to be shut out of the eight bowl berths.

But a 72-45 loss to Hawaii ended any argument BYU had for a BCS spot.

That was Crowton's first season at BYU. This could be his last if the Cougars don't upset their rivals on Saturday. It would mean a third straight losing season, something that hasn't happened at BYU in 40 years.

News Nuggets are compiled periodically based on material supplied by staff members; data published by ECU, Conference USA and its member schools; and reports from Associated Press and other sources. Copyright 2004 and other publishers. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Page Updated: 02/23/2007 12:06 PM


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