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After Back-to-Back USFL Titles, Stallions Coach Skip Holtz on What’s Next

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With USFL championship trophy in hand, Stallions Head Coach Skip Holtz addresses fans during the team's victory parade in downtown Birmingham. (Amarr Croskey, For The Birmingham Times)
By Solomon Crenshaw Jr.
For The Birmingham Times

Saturday was a significant day for Birmingham Stallions Head Coach Skip Holtz, and not just because his team would win their second straight USFL championship defeating the Pittsburgh Maulers, 28-12.

Saturday was the three-year anniversary of his mother Beth Barcus having passed away. And while he missed one parent, he was thankful to be able to savor a magical moment with another.

“Family is everything to me,” he said to media following Sunday’s victory parade. “To have my dad (Hall of Fame coach Lou Holtz) there to share it was emotional. But it meant the world to me. The pictures we have on the field after the game…”

The Stallions coach paused for a moment and then continued.

“Your dad won’t be here forever,” he said. “We’re not gonna be here forever and there were memories created (Saturday) night that will last us both a lifetime.”

Lou Holtz, 86, coached a number of college and pro football teams (including Notre Dame and South Carolina) and elected to the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame in 1983, and the Upper Ohio Valley Hall of Fame in 1998.

Skip Holtz said he was fortunate and blessed to grow up 18 years in that house with his parents. The blessings continued, he said, as he coached with his father for 10 years in South Bend and Columbia, S.C.

“To have him be able to get up here from Orlando at his age just means the world to me,” the younger Holtz said. “It was very emotional for me.  It was very meaningful to me. It was meaningful obviously because you compete and you want to win.

“But there was a personal side to (Saturday) that made it very emotional for me.”

Following Sunday’s parade, Holtz acknowledged having had four opportunities to continue his career elsewhere. He declined each, opting to remain in Birmingham.

“I am enjoying coaching more in these stages than I did at the beginning,” he said. “I’m very blessed to have been given the opportunity to be a head coach in the USFL and I’m grateful to Fox and Daryl Johnston (the USFL VP of Operations) and everybody that has made this league happen.

“I’m blessed to have had the opportunity to land in Birmingham and have the opportunity to try and build something here,” the coach continued. “I have fallen in love with the city and the people.”

Holtz said the past two years in the USFL have been among his fondest.  This comes after having coached in college his whole life until now.

“This is professional sports,” he said. “I’ve been blessed to have some great people to work with, and some very, very talented players that have really bought in. For me, I just feel I’m in a blessed, dreaming world right now. These memories will go down as some of my best.

“I’ve had great wins, great bowl wins, beaten high ranked teams, all those other championships,” Holtz said. “But these are really special right now because of the relationships are filled with so many people involved.”

Those people include the fans of Birmingham. After the parade, Holtz told the fans, “You guys have been awesome.”

A fan replied, “That’s what we do!”