College Sports in the Carolinas
Don't miss Al Myatt's
profile of ECU Chancellor Steven Ballard in the 2004
from the East
Friday, December 10, 2004
By Al Myatt
New football boss getting down
WHERE TO BUY...
PAT DYE: Short on Tenure, Long on Impact
INSIDE PIRATE FOOTBALL
Tracking the Classes
NCHSAA & ECU: Smooth Sailing Again
HIGH HOPES FOR HOOPS
New Leader Takes Charge
SCOTT COWEN: Busting Down the Door
KEITH LECLAIR on ECU's Field of Dreams
BETH GRANT: Actress Still a Pirate
Skip Holtz is settling in as head football coach at East Carolina meeting
with players, putting a staff together and recruiting.
"It's been extremely exciting and extremely busy," he said of his first week
on the job. "I'm putting names with the faces and getting to know the
players, meeting with them individually."
Holtz said he also has been picking the players' brains for evaluations of
Holtz, the son of recently retired South Carolina coach and one-time Notre
Dame coach Lou Holtz, continued to bring former Gamecocks aboard the Pirate
ship as he named ex-USC quarterback
Phil Petty to an assistant coaching
position. Cliff Snow, formerly director of football operations at South
Carolina, will take over the same duties at ECU.
Holtz had previously announced that
Steve Shankweiler would begin his
third term as ECU's offensive line coach, a task he performed last season at
Donnie Thompson is assistant head
coach and will work with the defensive line.
Still to be named are the coordinators.
"I'll turn the defense over to the defensive coordinator," Holtz said. "And
I will be very involved with the offense."
But it's too early to talk about specifics of ECU schemes.
"We need to sit down and evaluate personnel and talent," Holtz said. "Then
we've got to put that personnel in systems best suited for their abilities.
But we'll definitely be multiple on offense and defense."
An unusual series of events has given Holtz the challenge of building a
program that has gone 3-20 the last two seasons. ECU's new coach appeared at
one time to be in position to follow his father as Gamecocks coach, but a
year ago he was demoted from offensive coordinator to quarterbacks coach in
Although some have speculated that demotion brings Holtz to Greenville with
something to prove, Holtz insists that isn't the case.
"I don't feel like I have anything to prove," he said. "I just think Coach
(Lou) Holtz wanted to be more involved with the offense. It wasn't a
demotion. We had gone up in practically every aspect of offense
statistically ... but Coach Holtz wanted to do things the way he did at
Notre Dame. The public perceived it as a demotion and the media ran with it.
... The best thing I could do was support it."
A year later and there's no question the younger Holtz has a big promotion.
When John Thompson's
departure was announced on Nov. 17,
Holtz asked Shankweiler about the ECU job because of Shank's familiarity
with the program.
"I'd always seen East Carolina from afar they always played with a chip on
their shoulder and overachieved," Holtz said.
Holtz trusted Shankweiler's perspective on the Pirates. Shank had coached at
ECU and his son, Kort, is in the program.
"I came in and asked him what he thought," Holtz said. "He was very excited
and said he believed strongly that I would be right for it."
Because of a
fight with Clemson, the Gamecocks
didn't go to a bowl and Holtz became available about the time new ECU
athletic director Terry Holland was ready to do some serious shopping.
"As I sat down with Terry Holland and Nick Floyd (senior associate AD), I
saw their character, integrity and honesty," Holtz said. "I thought they
would be two great guys to have the opportunity to work for. When I visited
campus, met some of the players and had dinner with Dr. (Steve) Ballard (ECU
chancellor), the more excited I got.
"I was like, 'What have I got to do to get here?' Playing in a bowl game
would have made things harder. ... But I've heard people say 'The Lord looks
out for those in need.' I must have been at the top of his list. I feel
blessed to be here and I'm very excited about it."
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02/23/2007 12:47:01 AM