RUSTON, La (KMSS/KTAL) – “When we came here nine years ago, we said we wanted to build a program.” 64 victories and seven consecutive bowl appearances later (with six straight wins), Louisiana Tech Bulldogs Head Coach Skip Holtz, by all accounts, accomplished just that. But after a lackluster 2021, Holtz is out as the head football coach in Ruston. Coach Holtz spoke on the success of his tenure, his firing, and the status of recruits committed to the Bulldogs today after Louisiana Tech’s 35-31 loss to Rice.

Skip Holtz on what he wants fans to remember most about his tenure:
“Certainly, I want to remember the successes when I came here. Nine years ago we talked about what we wanted to do was, we wanted to build a program. If you look at Louisiana Tech history they had had an awful lot of great wins. When you go back to the wins against Alabama, you notice some of the great wins they’ve had in their history. What we hadn’t had since we’d gone Division One is a lot of stability, a lot of consistency a lot of year in and year out and building the program and I just used the analogy that when Kenneth Dixon walked out and they said ‘oh no what are we gonna do at tailback?’ and Jared Craft rushed for 1,000 yards and ‘Oh no, what are we gonna do at tailback?’ and Boston Scott rushed for 1,000 yards. ‘I don’t know what we gonna do at tailback’ and Justin Henderson rushed for 1,000 yards. So, we’ve talked about just trying to build a program that the people here in Ruston and the Louisiana Tech supporters can be proud of, that, year in and year out, showed stability and showed consistency and I think we did that. Obviously not this year. But when you look at the last seven years, a bowl game every year, for seven years in a row. I hope they look back and say, you know what? That was a great era. And that was one of the things that I talked about when we came in here. We’ve got great wins but we don’t have a great era. And I hope they look back at all the great players that have played here. All the coaches that have been through here and look at this as a time of consistency and stability. I certainly hope that’s how people would look at it. There have been some great wins from the 10 win season to, what? Three nine wins seasons?…So I just hope they look back and remember the days of success that we had here.”

Skip Holtz on being released of his head football coaching duties:

“This wasn’t my decision. This wasn’t my decision. This decision was made when I was told I would not be returning. I mean, so this wasn’t my decision. It hasn’t been in the works. It hasn’t been formulating. My feeling when I was told? Wow. I mean, with the success that we had and how competitive we were and knowing that we played with our third quarterback, I would have loved to come back for another year. But that wasn’t my decision. And that’s the decision of the administration. And so I respect it. I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to be here for nine years. I’m grateful for the young men that have played for us. I’m grateful for the coaches that I’ve had an opportunity to coach for. So I’m just very appreciative of the opportunities that I had and this will always be a special time period in my life and this will be a special stop. I’ve been in South Florida and East Carolina and Connecticut and you know, I’ve been a lot of different places but this will definitely…I will take many great memories but even more importantly many great relationships away with me from my time here in Ruston, Louisiana.”

Skip Holtz on not being given a chance to return next season:
“Well, it’s frustrating. I mean, it’s frustrating but like I said, that’s not my decision. I mean, it is the competitor in it. Yeah, you want to roll your sleeves up and like I said, I look at all the young guys on this team and maybe a couple additions in the transfer portal and I don’t think this program is broken right now. You know, I look at our team GPAs over a 2.7, every senior just graduated, every senior has graduated, we got a number of underclassmen that are coming back that already have their degree in their hand. We’ve got a great group of young men. It’s strong in the classroom, I think there’s a lot of character in that room. A lot of leadership in that room with guys that are coming back. There’s a lot of talent on this team. Like I said if you could change, you can’t, but if you could change four plays on the last play of the game you are at seven wins, and it was a ho-hum year. You know. I mean it was so hard but you’re right there you’re you’re playing with a lot of young players right now. And like I said, you’re playing really with your third one with Luke Anthony being out you’re playing with your fourth quarterback, you know, and that’s, that’s hard. I mean, that is hard, but it’s the competitor in me. I believe in this team. I believe this team will continue to be good. I think somebody is going to be very lucky to have the team. They have the opportunity to inherit this team. Because I think they’re just a couple plays away from being really, really good. And I think these guys are going to continue to grow and get better and better. But I think some of the young players on this football team are the guys that are our difference makers. When you look at Tre Harris, when you look at some of these guys and what they’re doing, I think the program is incredibly healthy and I think somebody is going to be incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to take over the reins here.”

Skip Holtz on the status what he would tell recruits committed to Louisiana Tech:
“Well, I think there’s some great young men that are committed to this program right now that…there’s about 10, ballpark, give or take. I think Louisiana Tech is really still a special place. I know as coaches, it’s easy for us to say you don’t make a decision on the coaches because they can come and go but you make a decision on the school and you look at Louisiana Tech. It’s in a great community and Ruston, it’s a very safe community. It’s a college town. I think this is a very competitive program that they’re going to have an opportunity to step in, I think academically with the quarter system, I think young men are having an incredible amount of success. I would love to see them stick with it. I think for many of them they’re probably going to wait and see who the coach is and to make sure that they are wanted by the new staff with everything but it’s definitely there’s a changing landscape going on right now with college football when you look at some of a year from now what’s going to happen with conference realignment, there’s going to be a lot of changes and a lot of things are going to have to be navigated because it is certainly a little bit of a moving target right now and how all that’s going to work but I believe in Louisiana Tech, I believe in the players in that locker room and I believe that it’s a great place. And I do believe that this place can continue to win and I would love to, nothing would make me happier than seven years from now to talk about this one year is the only year that Louisiana Tech didn’t go to a bowl game over a 15 year period. You know what I mean? I would love to see them continue to have the success with the great players and great coaches that we’ve had an opportunity to work.”

Offensive coordinator Joe Sloan will serve as interim head coach as a national search to name Holtz’ replacement is underway.