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Bailey's Take on Pirate Sports

From the Anchor Desk
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
By Brian Bailey

Holtz eyes 'Shank' for key appointment


Replay the audio archive of Tuesday night's Brian Bailey Show, featuring guest Skip Holtz: Select clip

The only person busier than Santa this Christmas is Skip Holtz.

The new Pirate coach continues to assemble a staff and those that have already been hired are spreading the word to recruits about East Carolina football.

Holtz says it has been a whirlwind to start, but he hopes to take a couple of days off around the holidays. That’s the plan, for now.

Holtz took Tuesday night to spend an hour with me on my radio/TV show on Talk 1070 and Cable 7.

This was my second extended interview with Coach Holtz, and I came away impressed both times. Holtz is a straight shooter. He has a plan. He wants to win right away. He knows it won’t be easy, but the plan is in place to find early success.

Holtz describe himself as “old school.” You know it’s really amazing; one day you feel like you are “cool,” the next minute you are “old school.”

He has so many things to do but he certainly doesn’t want to leave any stone unturned. While Tuesday night’s interview didn’t produce a blockbuster announcement, we did get more information on the offensive coordinator position.

“Nothing is in stone yet,” Holtz said, “but I’m leaning toward naming Coach Shank (Steve Shankweiler) as my offensive coordinator. I think it will be a great asset to have him set up situations with me on the field. I’ll still cal the plays for the most part, but even in that I’ll be looking for input.”

Holtz hinted that his next couple of hires would turn heads. He wouldn’t elaborate, but he left the studio Tuesday night to meet with one of those candidates who was interviewing Tuesday night.

Holtz also made one thing clear about the Pirate look on game day. One caller demanded that the team put a torch to the purple pants. Holtz says he hopes to keep things simple.

“We really want to bring some tradition to the uniform,” Holtz said. “Again, I’m ‘old school,’ so I want it to be simple. I would say we’ll have East Carolina along the front in block letters. We’ll have basic block numbers. At South Carolina we didn’t even have the names on the jerseys. We want a good look that is basic.”

Holtz is starting his second stint as a head coach. He had things rolling at Connecticut before he left the Huskies to coach with his Dad at South Carolina.

I found his words especially touching this close to the holidays.

“We made a family decision,” Holtz explained. “I thought it was very important for my kids to grow up seeing their grandparents on a daily basis. Mom was struggling with throat cancer, so we made the decision to head to Columbia to be together.

Holtz said his mother then battled several other, different cancers, before whipping the whole bunch. He said his Dad, legendary coach Lou Holtz, put it best.

“Dad said he started out praying for her," Holtz related, "and now he prays to her!”

The entire hour-long Brian Bailey Show is archived here on

You can also hear most of my earlier interview with Holtz on Christmas Day at 3 p.m. as WNCT-TV 9 presents a special “Eye on Eastern Carolina report, Pirate Football-Return to Glory."

Merry Christmas to all Pirate fans. Here’s hoping Santa brings lots of great things to the purple and gold for 2005.

Send an e-mail message to Brian Bailey.

Click here to dig into Brian Bailey's Bonesville archives.

02/23/2007 01:29:59 AM

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