The University of South Florida fired head football coach Skip Holtz Sunday following the worst season in the program's 16-year history.
The Bulls completed the 2012 campaign, their third under Holtz's direction, with a 3-9 record after Saturday's 27-3 home loss to Pittsburgh. The defeat was USF's 14th in its last 16 Big East Conference games and ninth in 10 overall outings following a 2-0 start to the season.
South Florida went just 5-16 in Big East play and 16-21 overall during Holtz's tenure, which began in January of 2010 after the university hired the 48-year- old following a successful five-year stint with East Carolina.
"During his three seasons as our head coach, Skip has served the university and the football program admirably," said USF athletic director Doug Woolard. "Our team has excelled in the classroom, setting a new USF standard for team GPA. Our APR scores are up as well. Skip's hard work in stressing the academic side of student life has been critical in that progress. He has worked tirelessly, helping to mold our football players into outstanding young men. His community work, his representation of USF, and his work ethic have all been exemplary. It is not easy to part ways with such a good man.
However, my responsibility to our students, our fan base and the university as a whole is clear. We must strive to put a more successful football program on the field. Beginning today, we will move in a new direction toward that goal."
The Bulls went 8-5 and earned a win in the Meineke Car Care Bowl during Holtz's first season in charge, but failed to reach the postseason after slipping to a 5-7 mark in 2011.
"I believe we made some positive strides, most notably in our academics, that were helping to build a foundation for this program and I would have liked the opportunity to see it through," said Holtz. "But I understand the administration's decision and wish them nothing but success in the future. I'm grateful to the University of South Florida, President (Judy) Genshaft and Doug Woolard for giving me the opportunity to be a part of this fine institution."
Holtz was under contract through the 2017 season after receiving a three-year extension from Woolard in July. He will receive a $2.5 million buyout from the university, paid in installments of $500,000 over a five-year period.
Holtz owns an overall record of 88-71 as a head coach, having gone 34-23 in five seasons at Connecticut from 1994-98 and 38-27 over a five-year period at East Carolina from 2005-09 prior to his arrival in Tampa. He also spent six years as an assistant under his father, Lou, at South Carolina between 1999-2004.
While at ECU, Holtz's teams made four consecutive bowl appearances from 2006-09 and captured back-to-back Conference USA championships over those final two seasons.