Holtz calling on friends for help

Published 6:49 pm Thursday, December 20, 2007

By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
GREENVILLE — Skip Holtz is a proud man. But he’s not so proud that he’ll turn a deaf ear to those willing to offer him advice.
In fact, the third-year East Carolina head coach has been hitting the phone, calling on friends and family seeking advice as his Pirates (7-5) prepare to face No. 24 Boise State (10-2) in Sunday’s Sheraton Hawaii Bowl.
Holtz, 19-17 at ECU and 53-40 overall as a head coach, said he’s been seeking guidance on how much to practice, checking on the differences between pre- and post-Christmas bowl games and dealing with distractions.
A couple of the more important calls Holtz made was to a fellow Conference USA team in Central Florida. The Knights lost 49-48 to Nevada in overtime in the 2005 Hawaii Bowl.
One of the biggest obstacles Holtz and the Pirates will have to clear is the five-hour time difference.
Holtz led the Pirates to the PapaJohns.com Bowl last year, which was his first bowl game as a head coach. ECU fell 24-7 to South Florida.
Holtz has enjoyed bowl victories as an assistant coach. While Holtz was a graduate assistant coach with Florida State, the Seminoles beat Nebraska 31-28 in the 1988 Fiesta Bowl while also taking a 13-7 victory over Auburn in the 1989 Sugar Bowl.
As an assistant coach at Notre Dame, Holtz saw the Irish go 3-1 in bowl games. Notre Dame fell 10-9 to Colorado in the 1991 Orange Bowl, beat Florida 39-28 in the 1992 Sugar Bowl, beat Texas A&M 28-3 in the 1993 Cotton Bowl and beat Texas A&M 24-21 in the 1994 Cotton Bowl.
Holtz also enjoyed two bowl victories as an assistant coach at South Carolina. The Gamecocks topped Ohio State 24-7 in the 2001 Outback Bowl and then beat the Buckeyes 31-28 in the 2002 Outback Bowl.
Holtz coached with his father, legendary coach Lou Holtz, in a handful of those bowl games. The younger Holtz said his father offers some solid advice.