Vandals finished 3-9 in '03

Updated: December 9, 2003, 12:47 PM ET
Associated Press

BOISE, Idaho -- Southern California assistant Nick Holt was named Monday as the new head coach at Idaho.

Holt, a former Idaho assistant, replaces Tom Cable, who was fired after going 3-9 this fall and 11-35 in four seasons. Holt was introduced at a news conference in Moscow on Monday.

Holt, 41, was a Vandal assistant from 1990 through 1997. He also was an assistant coach at UNLV, held the same post at Louisville with former Idaho coach John L. Smith, and has been the linebacker coach at USC for the past three seasons.

"I could have stayed at USC and been happy with perhaps the best program in the nation," Holt said. "But I want to have my own program, run my own show and be my own boss."

Holt will continue to coach the USC linebackers through the Rose Bowl.

"It was important to the kids I coached that I stay there for the next month," he said.

Southern California finished the regular season No. 1 in both polls, but is No. 3 in the Bowl Championship Series standings behind Oklahoma and LSU. USC will take on Nov. 4 Michigan in the Rose Bowl. USC can still finish first in the final Associated Press poll.

"We don't care who we play," Holt said. "I can't even understand the BCS system. We're No. 1 in both polls. We worked for three years to get to that point."

Holt said already has some assistant coaches, including some that are preparing for bowls.

"In the next two weeks, I should be set with staff," he said.

Interim Idaho athletic director Rob Spear said the school had several requirements and Holt satisfied them all.

"Nick is somebody who will bring energy into our program," Spear said.

His wife, Julie, was the head coach for the Idaho women's basketball team from 1994 to 1998 and currently coaches at Los Angeles Harbor College. They have two sons.

Holt said he has a full understanding of the Vandals' state rivalry with Boise State and doesn't plan to let it diminish.

"I can't stand those guys," Holt joked about the Broncos. "I know they don't like us, but that's perfectly fine. I respect what they're doing immensely.

"I don't know how long it's going to take to win a conference championship, but we're going to do it," Holt said. "We will not be outworked."

Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press