South Florida’s Skip Holtz Gets Marquee Program Victory over Notre Dame


For the South Florida Bulls, yesterday’s 23-20 win at #16 Notre Dame was a “program win.” They haven’t been playing at the highest level of college football for very long, so beating the most storied program in the entire sport, at their place, is quite a feat.

“We talked about what a great challenge this was for us coming in here as a young program being that only 13 years ago we didn’t own a pair of cleats or a helmet or football at South Florida,” Skip Holtz told the media after the game.

“And to be the youngest program in the BCS and to have an opportunity to have a couple wins on the road with Clemson in the Bowl and Miami and then having the opportunity to come up here to Notre Dame and win I just think speaks volumes about the leadership that we have at this University.”

Holtz is obviously the son of Lou Holtz, current ESPN analyst and the legendary Irish head coach who guide ND to their most recent national title in 1988. He played for his father in South Bend, and later served as an assistant on his coaching staff. Yesterday’s win marked the first time a ND graduate brought a team to Notre Dame Stadium and won since Eddie Anderson did it with the Iowa Hawkeyes in 1940.

“My father was not here today,” Holtz said postgame.

“My mother, brother, sisters, I don’t know, about 80 tickets’ worth were here.  We’ve got a pretty good clan.  But no, my father was in the studio today.  From what I understand they told him he wouldn’t have to go on the air when the game was on, so for eight hours (laughter) ?? they probably thought that was a three?hour commitment when they turned and made that to him, and here it was eight hours later he still had the opportunity to watch the game.

But again, it is great to come back to a University that has meant so much to me and so much to my family, and the respect that I have and the class of the fans and the people here and the positive comments from everybody walking over the grotto, the fans and everything else, Notre Dame is everything I’ve always believed it was, and it was great to come back, and I have great respect for this University and institution, but I’m really proud of South Florida and the way these young men came in here and the way they competed, and it’s a step in the right direction for us.”

Since joining the Big East conference in 2005, USF has utilized one of the top-level recruiting areas right in their backyard. With five straight eight win seasons, six straight bowl bids (one of just four programs nationally to win their last three postseason appearances) they have a lighter version of the early 1980s Miami Hurricanes thing going on right.

Indeed, they are mid-majors no more.

“Notre Dame is, as I said, one of the most tradition?rich programs.  They have played football 120 years.  We are celebrating our 104th victory today as a program,” Holtz articulated.

“So when you talk about how young we are, I don’t think you can measure what a win like this for us means on the road with our youth. I think we’ve had some big wins in our program’s history, having wins at Miami and Florida State and Auburn and on the road with Clemson in the Bowl game.  We’ve had some big wins, but I think as I told the team last week, I’m much more concerned how we handle this game, whether we win or lose, than I am what happens to it, because we have had some big wins.

What we have not done is we have not been able to line up and play consistently throughout the course of a year and win a Big East Championship, and that’s the No. 1 goal that we have as a football team right now with what we’re trying to do.”

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports, an official Google News site that generates millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports 

He does regular weekly radio spots in Chicago and Cleveland and has appeared on live shows all across the world from Houston to New Zealand. You can follow him on Twitter

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