TAMPA - Before I give my take on what I think transpired to lead to a controversial contract extension given to Head Football Coach Skip Holtz last summer, you need to read a three paragraph statement issued today by USF from Athletic Director Doug Woolard.
Here it is:
"I know Skip, his staff and the players are working diligently to get that next win, and to find sustained success," his statement read. "Certainly, the results, in terms of wins and losses to date, are disappointing to everyone involved with our program -- the coaches, the players, athletic administration and our passionate fans. Our expectations for this program are very high. I also know this team has a lot of football left to play and great opportunities in front of it. We're only six games into a 12-game regular season."
"We are going to provide all the support possible for our football program, including employment contracts that reflect our commitment to success," he said in the statement. "Many factors come into play when considering contract terms, including conditions in the national coaching marketplace. In Skip's case, multiple BCS schools sought his coaching services at the end of both the 2010 and 2011 seasons. As a result, we felt it was important to maintain the stability and continuity of leadership in our football program and extended Skip's contract.
"As has been our practice in the past, we will evaluate the status of each of our 19 programs at the conclusion of their respective seasons. We'll identify where we are as a football program at that time and continue to build from there."
So what can we conclude from this statement? Simple.
Holtz was being courted by other schools following his first season at USF.
I have a problem right off the bat.
Why would Holtz even consider a job outside of USF after his first season?
Second: I have a hard time believing that any BCS school would go after Holtz when his team finished 5-7 and went 1-6 in the Big East in 2011.
My belief is Holtz had his rep put out feelers. Why?
At that time, the Big East Conference was falling apart. For months, the future of the conference was in doubt.
More prominent conferences were taking the Big East glamour schools away.
That situation had to contribute greatly into Woolard's okay to a contract extension.
It was definitely not on merit. We can conclude that much.
The instability of the conference likely provided a bit of panic, and when Holtz made it known he was being courted, Woolard locked him in with an extension.
Had the conference been on strong footing, we wouldn't be talking about this right now.
I understand Woolard's thinking, if indeed this was what he faced.
I do not understand a contract extension until 2017.
So what we have right now is an AD hoping that Holtz turns the program around THIS SEASON, or he might have to eat $2.5 million to buy out Holtz from his deal.
And we have Holtz who needs wins badly, because I guarantee you those supposed schools interested in him before are likely not interested now.
If they are, they're small BCS schools.
I sure hope this all works out for both Woolard and Holtz.
It has to.