What If (Skip Holtz was the Gamecock football coach?) Wednesdays!

Posted: September 28, 2011 in Football, NCAA, Sports
Tags: , ,

Welcome to the debut (and with my track record, probably the one and only) What If(?) Wednesdays! Something that fits the bill of an explanation can be found here. I’m always asking “What if?” Mostly, it’s about sports. So, we’ll keep it at that for the time being.

HBC's shirts > Skip Holtz's shirts

Okay kids, let’s take a trip back to 1998. (It was a tough time for your boy. I had really huge glasses, bad haircuts, and I wore out shoes so badly that they were literally talking as I walked.) The South Carolina Gamecocks had just hired Lou Holtz to become the head coach of the football team. Allegedly, there was a cause in Lou’s contract that Skip Holtz would succeed Lou as head coach when Lou retired. Of course, that didn’t work out so well. But, what if it did? Seriously, what if Skip Holtz had become the head coach (and not Steve Spurrier)? Is the answer so simple?

Now, allow me to fact check myself: After the 2003 season, Skip Holtz was demoted from his position of offensive coordinator (sources say that he spent the final season as the guy who got Cocky into his outfit). So, it would have been extremely unlikely that the whole “coach in waiting” plan would still be in effect after a change like that was made. Of course, this is why we’re doing the “What If?” game in the first place!

Well, for one thing, I think the actual news of the coaching change wouldn’t have been so mishandled. Believe it or not, there was a time where we didn’t always know what would happen before it was announced (Oh, the good ole days of 2004. There was no Twitter, and you couldn’t post status updates on Facebook). Anyway, it wasn’t supposed to be known that South Carolina had agreed to a contract with Steve Spurrier. it turns out that a source leaked the information to a Tennessee paper, and that was that. I remember asking Mike Douchebag McGee (the then athletic director) about the information getting out before they wanted it to, (for a story I was doing) and…surprise surprise, he didn’t want to talk about it. Had the succession plan gone into place, I think that the chance of any information leaking beforehand would have been extremely low. So, things would have been a little more smooth when it came to the actual transition.

I decided to do some number crunching. I’m going to throw some records at you:
Coach A: 50-32, 31-16 (in conference games) since 2005
Coach B: 49-33, 25-25 (in conference games) since 2005
The overall records are pretty identical. Who are these coaches?

Well, Coach A is Skip Holtz at Connecticut and South Florida. Coach B is Steve Spurrier at South Carolina. Other than the conference record, they’re rather identical. Now, before you start the “But Skip’s not coaching in the almighty SEC!” talk, just realize that, um, I know that. 49-33 is indeed one of the best stretches that the Gamecocks have ever had (Of course, that statement alone is pretty pathetic. But I digress.). Knowing the success that Skip Holtz has had in the time that the HBC has been in charge, it’s not entirely impossible that Skip Holtz would have a similar record in the same time frame.

Now, this isn’t to take anything away from Steve Spurrier. He’s upgraded the facilities, he’s excited the fan base, and he has players who have bought into the team mentality. He also has his own line of clothing. Take that, Bill Belichick! But given the success that Skip Holtz has had, I think that it’s at least a question that you can ask (and not seem like an idiot. Well, at least not like a total idiot).

What are your thoughts? Would South Carolina be better/worse off, or about the same, if Skip Holtz had succeeded his father as head coach?


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