Grading the Coaching Hires: Skip Holtz and Louisiana Tech


If not for his last name, is there any way Skip Holtz would still be coaching? Well, the son of Lou Holtz is trading on his family name again as he quickly landed the gig with Louisiana Tech after getting the boot at South Florida.

Holtz is actually the third consecutive coaching legacy to land Louisiana Tech, as AD Bruce Van De Velde has hired Derek Dooley (son of Vince Dooley) and Sonny Dykes (son of Spike Dykes).

Holtz, 48, has a reputation of building or rebuilding programs like Connecticut and East Carolina, as well as helping his father at South Carolina.

He is 88-71 as a head coach, but his final two years at South Florida were abysmal. Holtz took over a solid Big East program and the Bulls went 2-12 in conference play.

Why We Like the Hire

Louisiana Tech is not a bad place to land after bottoming out in the mighty Big East. Holtz isn’t facing a rebuilding project, but instead needs to move the Bulldogs forward as it transitions to Conference USA.

Holtz’ experience at East Carolina will help him in the new conference, but then again Conference USA looks a little different than it did the last time he was there.

Let’s assume what transpired at South Florida was a fluke, so Holtz just might be the right fit.

holtz-usfWhy We Don’t Like the Hire

Now let’s consider South Florida’s fall had more to do with Holtz than with talent, which is very likely.

Then he should do well in 2013 before the Bulldogs begin to lose more than they win.

Tech’s fans are used to seeing an up-tempo offense, and Holtz’ offenses at South Florida were … well … nothing exciting. The Bulls ranked 104th in scoring this year.

What Kind of Talent Does He Inherit?

The Bulldogs lose two key cogs in an offense that led the nation in scoring with the graduation of quarterback Colby Cameron and top receiver Quinton Patton. Even the special teams unit takes a hit as two-time Ray Guy Award winner Ryan Allen played his final season.

Holtz should focus on getting the ball in the hands of running back Kenneth Dixon, who rushed for 1,194 yards and 27 touchdowns. Not a bad place to start.

The Bulldogs’ top returners on defense are defensive back Levander Liggins, lineman Shakeil Lucas and linebacker Mike Schrang.

Yeah, But Can He Recruit?

Holtz’ name can help him on the recruiting trail, and he was able to attract some highly rated players at South Florida. Of course, the leftovers in Florida are better than most states.

Louisiana has some talented players to choose from as well, so Holtz will have to develop some new relationships, as well as maintain those he has developed over two decades of coaching.

Final Thoughts

On the surface, it seems like nabbing Holtz off the employment line was about as good as it gets. But the time might have been right for Louisiana Tech to go another route and give an-up-and-coming coach a shot.

If Holtz can turn his own career around, he will likely use Tech as a way to land a better job again.

Coaching Grade: C-