East Carolina's Holtz may talk to Syracuse but doesn't have job

Updated: December 8, 2008, 3:37 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- East Carolina coach Skip Holtz hopes to meet with Syracuse's athletic director but said he is not close to accepting the Orange's head coaching job.

Holtz said Sunday he has had no formal meetings with Syracuse and called an NFL Network report that he was to be introduced as the new coach Monday "inaccurate." Holtz, however, didn't rule out replacing the fired Greg Robinson.

"I would like to have the opportunity to talk to [Syracuse AD] Daryl Gross," Holtz said. "But at this point, no, I'm not going through an interview process. I've made that very clear."

Holtz was in Charlotte on Sunday to serve as the keynote speaker for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy dinner, an award given to the nation's top defensive player.

Holtz led the Pirates to a 27-24 win at Tulsa in the Conference USA championship game Saturday. East Carolina (9-4) will play Kentucky in the Liberty Bowl.

Holtz and his wife are scheduled to be in New York on Monday and Tuesday for events surrounding his father Lou Holtz's induction into the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame. While Holtz said he had nothing formally planned with Gross, he didn't rule out talking about the Syracuse job while in New York.

ESPN's Lou Holtz said on Sunday that his son would in fact meet with Syracuse officials in New York on Monday.

Adding to the evidence that Holtz does not have a deal with the school, NFL.com reported on Sunday night Syracuse has contacted New York Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride to discuss the opening.

However, Gilbride told ESPN's Sal Paolantonio on Monday that he turned down the opportunity to interview for the head coaching job at Syracuse.

"The timing is not right," Gilbride said.

The Orange are looking to replace Robinson, who was 10-37 overall and 3-26 in the Big East in four seasons at Syracuse, part of a stunning slide of what was once one of the Northeast's top football programs.

"I'm in the beginning stages of even exploring what else is out there," Holtz said.

But Holtz also indicated he would have no qualms with staying at East Carolina, a program that he helped rebuild despite the school's status outside the Bowl Championship Series conferences.

Holtz is 29-21 in four seasons at the Greenville, N.C. school. The Pirates were 3-20 in the two seasons before Holtz's arrival.

"I'm very happy in Greenville," Holtz said. "My family is very happy in Greenville. You never say never in this business because you don't know. But I've said in order for me to leave Greenville it's going to have to be a pretty special situation for me to leave."

Saturday's win over Tulsa culminated an up-and-down year for East Carolina, which started the season 3-0, with victories over Virginia Tech and West Virginia. The Pirates then lost three straight before rebounding to win the school's first conference title in 32 years.

"I know a lot of people think you have to have a BCS next to your school to make it rewarding," Holtz said. "But for me right now, I've been in a very good situation."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.