USF issues statements from Woolard, Holtz

USF officially announced the firing of head coach Skip Holtz, whose three-year tenure ended with back-to-back losing seasons.

Here is a statement from Holtz:

"I want to thank my assistant coaches, staff, the players and their families for their dedication and loyalty. I’m extremely proud of how they fought through adversity during this time. Throughout my time here, the young men on this team never gave up, and that reflects on their character as individuals and as a team. 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. 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."

And athletic director Doug Woolard:

"I am keenly aware of how difficult the 2012 football season has been to our loyal and faithful fan base. So first, I would like to thank our fans for their support and especially for their continued passion for USF football.

"While our program remains young, having just completed our 16th season of competition, our history is rich, and the expectations of coaches, players, students, administrators and fans are high. That is why the past few months have been hard for all of us.

"We have made the very difficult decision to relieve Coach Skip Holtz of his duties at USF. During his three seasons as our head coach, Skip has served the university and the football program admirably. 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. I am thankful for his friendship, and for what he has done for USF athletics.

"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.

"We will immediately begin a search for a new head coach. We will move as quickly as possible, but will be as thorough as necessary to find the best fit for our football program here at USF. We will enlist the expertise of university officials, community leaders, and leaders in the world of intercollegiate athletics.

"We will not be utilizing a search firm in the traditional sense but we may seek assistance in terms of search logistics, background checks and vetting of candidates. I will be communicating with leading individuals at all levels of football in America as this process moves forward.

"Every program experiences highs and lows on the way to national prominence. Brighter days are ahead. I know that our fans share the passion and pride for USF athletics that I do. I continue to be grateful for their support. Our fan base deserves to know that we are committed toward making USF successful on a national scale. We will conduct our search for the next head coach with that in mind."