Holtz remains undecided on future as coach

A representative of South Carolina has contacted Steve Spurrier, and none other than coach Lou Holtz himself thinks it'd be a great thing if Spurrier were the one to replace him if Holtz retires as football coach.

The State of Columbia, S.C., citing anonymous sources, reported the story in Wednesday's editions of the newspaper.

When contacted by The State, Spurrier, the former Florida coach who last week withdrew from consideration to return to the Gators, did not deny having interest in Holtz's job if it came open.

Spurrier, 59, told ESPN on Tuesday that he would probably prefer the college ranks if he decides to get back into coaching. He resigned in 2003 after going 12-20 in two seasons with the Washington Redskins and hasn't coached since. He's also been linked to a potential opening at North Carolina.

Spurrier left Florida in 2002 after 12 winning seasons, six Southeastern Conference championships and a national title.

"South Carolina?" Spurrier responded when asked by The State about South Carolina. "What happened to North Carolina? South Carolina's got a coach. North Carolina's got a coach. Everybody's got a coach. When those guys aren't coaching anymore ... maybe we can talk about it."

During his weekly news conference Monday, Holtz did not talk about his future. When asked by a reporter when he would decide his future, Holtz said, "Now is not a good time to talk about that."

He then joked, "A lot of it has to do with [President] Bush. I see secretary of state is open."

Spurrier also was thought to be a candidate for the Dolphins' opening when Dave Wannstedt resigned Tuesday, but team president Eddie Jones said Miami does not intend to talk to Spurrier.

"Will that change? I'm not sure," Jones said. "But at this point we don't have any intention of doing so."

Spurrier told Florida Today that NFL teams shouldn't even bother pursuing him.

"I've said recently to several people that if I get back
coaching, it will probably be a good college job somewhere,"
Spurrier said. "It seems like I'm better suited for that. I know I
certainly had a lot more success in the college game than in the
NFL. So if I return to coaching, I think that would probably be the
best idea."

Spurrier even took a shot at his NFL record.

"Probably very few NFL teams would want me after the success I
had," he said. "Some probably would say that in the right
situation I could be successful. But if I had a choice, I'd lean
toward the college game. Everybody has their own little niche. The
college game was certainly a lot better success-wise for me."

Spurrier withdrew his name from consideration to return to
Gainesville, where Ron Zook was fired last month after two-plus

Spurrier refused to reveal whether he would have taken the job
had it been offered, but school president Bernie Machen and
athletic director Jeremy Foley weren't planning to extend any
invitations without a full-blown search-and-interview process --
something Spurrier may have felt was a slap in the face considering
his track record with the Gators.

Holtz, 67, has danced around his plans as coach beyond the 2004 season. He has a five-year rollover contract that, according to The State, does not include a buyout clause; the contract can be broken mutually by him and the university with only five days' notice, the newspaper reported.

"I can understand why he would want to come here, and I can also understand why they would want him," Holtz, who has the Gamecocks bowl eligible for the first time in three years, told The State. "I also understand that the job is not open."

Several times since a 43-29 loss to Tennessee on Oct. 30, Holtz said he is tired, but wanted to get through the season before deciding whether he would return to USC.

"I could understand why [Spurrier] would want to come because I think the program is pretty solid. I think it still has to go to the next level," Holtz said. "We're close to competing for the championship, and I thought maybe we could this year, but the loss to Georgia, the loss to Ole Miss, but we aren't far away."

Several times since an Oct. 30 loss to Tennessee, Holtz said he's tired. Still, he hasn't made up his mind about coaching beyond this season. Quarterbacks coach/assistant head coach Skip Holtz has long been considered his father's likely replacement, but Lou Holtz stripped his son of his offensive coordinator's title during the offseason.

"The one thing you want to make sure is that when you do leave, the program is going to be solid, in good hands and is going to move forward, because I owe it to these players," he told The State. "Everybody you recruit wants to know if you're going to be there four years and at that time, you believe you are.

"But somewhere along the line, you aren't going to be there four years. It's impossible. Somewhere along the line, the answer is no."

Spurrier said he would prefer to coach in a warm-weather
climate, but declined to say whether he has spoken to any schools.

"I can't answer all that. I can't answer all your questions. In
the next two or three weeks, once the season is over, we'll see
what happens," he told The Gainesville Sun.

"I think I've made it clear now that if I go back into
coaching, it'll be at a good state university, a college job.
Hopefully it will be in the South. I'd rather not get up there in
the North."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.