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(Columbia) Nov. 11, 2004 - For the past few seasons South Carolina fans start speculating about this time of year whether 67-year-old coach Lou Holtz will retire. Holtz is in his sixth season with the Gamecocks and hasn't said one way or the other, but previously he has said the decision is made after the season. He has admitted he's not really sure what he'll do next season.
Holtz has heard them all when it comes to questions about retirement, becoming the new AD and former Florida coach Steve Spurrier.
Over the last week or so, whenever Holtz gets before a group of reporters, the subject of his future has come up. Coach Holtz was asked about the rumor that has him giving up coaching to become an athletics director. Lou says that will never happen.
He's been very vague on whether or not he'll return to coach the Gamecocks for a seventh season, but he shut down any rumor on Thursday that he has spoken to his staff that he is leaving, "That is absolutely untrue, absolutely untrue. I talked to our coaches, I talked about the situation and one time. And but, to say that I am not coming back. That is totally untrue. I haven't even addressed it with our football team."
On Wednesday, Holtz addressed the possibility of his golfing buddy Spurrier taking over at USC, "I'm just concerned about preparing for Florida and doing what's best for this program. Steve Spurrier and I are friends. He would be an excellent coach for any program, but the last time I checked, there wasn't an opening here."
Holtz says there are good head coaching candidates on his current staff. That includes defensive coordinator Rick Minter, secondary coach Ron Cooper and running backs coach Dave Roberts - all of whom are former Division One coaches.
And, don't forget about Holtz' son Skip, the quarterbacks coach, who was widely viewed as the successor until Skip's demotion prior to this season.
Skip Holtz spoke to the media on Wednesday, "He is not ready to make a decision at this point in the season because mentally right now he is not only mentally tired and physically tired. I think that he is having fun coaching and he is enjoying it out there on the field. Right now, you have to ask him about what he is thinking, but from my standpoint, you know, I know that this thing has taken a life of its own and everyone is running with it right now. With us it is business as usual."
Lou's future is a hot topic on Brian Custer's Columbia sports talk show, "Does Lou Holtz feel that the fans don't want him around any more? Will that force him to step down earlier? Does he really listen to that kind of feedback? I don't think he does. I think he's going to make his decision based on his family, based on his players and not about talk shows like this."
USC is not talking about whether Coach Holtz will call it a career. Assistant Athletics Director Kerry Tharp says Holtz "has not decided his future here." Tharp told News 10 on Wednesday afternoon, USC has "a hall of fame coach" who has "a lot of drive left in him." Tharp says he does not see Holtz "slowing down one iota."
Gamecock broadcaster Todd Ellis, "It might be more about his effort and what it takes to get up every week like that, to be a head coach and to motivate all those young men, as opposed to, I'm tired of coaching."
Asked by a Florida newspaper columnist about coaching at either the University of North Carolina or USC, Spurrier said neither job was open. "I guess we've all got to wait about two weeks and see what opens up and see if I've got a chance," Spurrier told the interviewer. He added, "It's easy to start a rumor."
The Holtz-Spurrier story has gone national. ESPN.com is citing a report by The State newspaper that a USC representative has been in contact with the former Florida and Washington Redskins coach. The paper attributes that information to anonymous sources.