Skip Holtz was the right choice for USF

Updated: January 18, 2010, 4:10 PM ET
By Dick Vitale |

The University of South Florida hit a home run with the hiring of Skip Holtz as its football coach. It was truly a grand slam by athletic director Doug Woolard and the administration down in Tampa.

I hated to see Jim Leavitt lose his job because he was so dedicated, bleeding the colors of South Florida. Obviously, the results of an investigation into allegations of striking USF player Joel Miller were released. All reports indicated that the coach did make contact with the player. Leavitt's actions were an absolute no-no in the climate that exists in college athletics today.

The school had to hire someone and they got the right choice. His energy, his knowledge and his ability to lead is something special.

How am I so familiar with him? When my daughters Sherri and Terri were students at Notre Dame, I got to observe him as an assistant. My future son-in-law, then quarterback Thomas Krug, was recruited by Skip's dad, Lou.

After watching this guy's enthusiasm and work ethic, I wondered why he wasn't chosen to lead a big-time program. That is not a knock on Connecticut or East Carolina, where he served as head coach before landing at South Florida.

Skip Holtz did an amazing job at East Carolina considering where they were before he arrived. He took them to bowl games and produced a pair of Conference USA championships. That indicates his level of ability.

With the kind of players available in the Sunshine State, if you get the kids that Florida, Miami and Florida State don't want, you are still on your way. There is that much talent in the state of Florida, my friends.

Holtz will have more talent then he has had in the past. South Florida will be a Big East contender year in and year out.

I know Lou Holtz is smiling, living down I-4 in Orlando. Now he will have his son coaching in his backyard, and the grandchildren will be relatively close by. Skip's wife's parents live in Port Charlotte, so this is a major homecoming.

It is great for the family to reunite, and I am sure Skip will have a volunteer assistant named Louis Holtz. He has a pretty good resume, too!

Dick Vitale

College Basketball analyst
Dick Vitale, college basketball's top analyst and ambassador, joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season. His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate style. Vitale also contributes columns to