|Skip Holtz and South Florida have lost 10 of their last 11 Big East constests. (US Presswire)|
South Florida awarded Skip Holtz a contract extension in June, adding three years to a deal that now runs through the 2017 season. With his salary at approximately $2 million annually, it should come as no concern that Bulls fans have questions for the administration regarding the on-field performance.
Saturday's loss to Temple was USF's fourth loss in a row and its 10th in its last 11 Big East games under Holtz. The unrest among South Florida fans and Tuesday's basketball media day led athletic director Doug Woolard to address the football situation in a three-paragraph statement.
"I know Skip, his staff and the players are working diligently to get that next win, and to find sustained success. Certainy, 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 expecations 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."
Woolard then appeared to defend the decision to give Holtz an extension, citing the national interest in the Bulls' coach at the end of the last two regular seasons. Citing "stability and continuity," Woolard explained his reasoning for keeping the program on the same track.
"We are going to provide all the support possible for our football program, including employment contracts that reflect our commitment to success. 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."
Then came the dreaded "evaluation" discussion. Woolard confirmed -- like every AD ever -- that Holtz, and the football program in general, will be evaluated at the end of the season.
"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."
If USF decides to terminate Holtz, the school would be on the hook to pay a $2.5-million buyout. The Bulls have a talented roster and five Big East games left to play in 2012. There is still time for Holtz and the team to reverse this story, but hot seats do not cool easily. Particularly when the situation has reached a point of the dreaded AD statement.
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