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Caldwell has change of heart

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- South Carolina coach Lou Holtz's offseason
took another unexpected twist Saturday when recently hired
assistant Robbie Caldwell returned to his old position at
Vanderbilt.

Holtz said Caldwell accepted South Carolina's offer to coach the
offensive line. "But he has now informed me that he has decided to
remain at Vanderbilt University," Holtz said.

Caldwell and his family were in the Carolinas on Christmas Eve.
Holtz announced the hiring just hours before the holiday. Caldwell,
a native of Pageland, called the chance to return to the state and
work for Holtz "a dream come true."

But Holtz and Caldwell spoke several times on Saturday about
Caldwell's second thoughts. In the end, Caldwell said he couldn't
give up on the Commodores and Vanderbilt coach Bobby Johnson. "I
could not renege on that commitment," Caldwell said in a
statement.

A message to Caldwell from The Associated Press was not
immediately returned. Holtz was at his Florida home on Christmas
break, South Carolina athletics spokesman Kerry Tharp said Saturday
night.

Caldwell's decision means Holtz has three positions to fill on
his staff in what has been his most turbulent offseason at South
Carolina.

Two days after the Gamecocks finished a 5-7 season with a
horrific 63-17 loss at home to archrival Clemson, Holtz dismissed
four coaches in a shakeup some have called "Black Monday."
Defensive coordinator Chris Cosh, quarterbacks coach Todd Fitch,
offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo and secondary coach John
Gutekunst -- who had all been with the Gamecocks all five of Holtz's
seasons -- were let go.

Then first-year receivers coach Charlie Williams left to take a
position with new Arizona coach Mike Stoops.

The status of Holtz's offensive coordinator son, Skip, also is
up in the air because his father announced Dec. 17 that starting
next year he would take control of the attack.

Holtz's first hire also was surprising -- bringing in East
Carolina offensive coordinator Rick Stockstill, who spent 1989-02
at South Carolina's chief rival Clemson, to coach receivers.

Caldwell seemed fired up and ready to go after accepting the
job.

But when he returned to Nashville, the connection he felt to the
players and to Johnson -- an Furman assistant while Caldwell played
offensive line for the Paladins in the 1970s -- hit home. "I feel
bad for the disruption and difficulty I have caused," Caldwell
said.