Skip Holtz is UConn's Final Obstacle

Isn't life funny? Standing between UConn and their first ever BCS Bowl berth is none other than former UConn head coach, Skip Holtz. The ties between Holtz and UConn run deeper than just Holtz's tenure as head coach from 1994-1998. Holtz was born in Willimantic, Connecticut back in 1964, when his father Lou was an assistant on the UConn staff.

Jeff Hathaway credits Holtz with doing "an incredible job selling and building" the UConn program before moving on. Randy Edsall presented Holtz with a plaque, thanking him for taking the program to the level that he did. There's no question that Holtz's successes aided Edsall and his staff in making the transition to 1-A (now FBS) smoother.

As head coach of the Huskies, Holtz amassed a 34-23 record over five seasons, and led UConn to its first ever Division 1-AA playoff appearance. UConn beat Hampton 42-34 in the first round, then fell to 1-AA power Georgia Southern the following week. Days later Holtz resigned in order to join Lou, who had been hired as the head coach at the University of South Carolina. Skip was to serve as offensive coordinator, and potentially succeed his father as head coach when he retired. Connecticut tabbed Edsall as Holtz's replacement.

In Holtz's first season at South Carolina the Gamecocks finished 0-8 in the SEC and 0-11 overall. Just one season later they finished 8-4, including a 24-7 victory over Ohio State in the Outback Bowl. The following season the Gamecocks finished 9-3, and once again beat Ohio State in the Outback Bowl. In each of the following two seasons South Carolina finished 5-7, and Lou Holtz announced his retirement. Holtz was not hired as head coach by the University, who would instead hire Steve Spurrier. Holtz was not retained.

He landed at East Carolina University, who was at the time 3-22 in their last 25 games. Holtz turned the Pirates around, going 38-27 over five seasons, including four bowl appearances and some high profile wins over Virginia Tech and West Virginia. This off-season Holtz was hired by the University of South Florida to replace long time head coach Jim Leavitt. Holtz was now in the Big East, the same conference that the University of Connecticut calls home. The stage was set.

Holtz has done an excellent job in his first season in South Florida, leading the Bulls to a 7-4 overall record (3-3 Big East). The Bulls are coming off a huge win for their program, a 23-20 overtime victory over Miami. Now Holtz and the Bulls are the Huskies' last obstacle in their quest for the Big East title.

The man that helped lay the very foundation that Randy Edsall built upon, now stands in the way of seeing that dream realized. Yeah, life is funny.

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