United Football League
Will colleges come calling for Stallions coach Skip Holtz?
United Football League

Will colleges come calling for Stallions coach Skip Holtz?

Updated Jun. 25, 2024 10:55 a.m. ET

Birmingham Stallions head coach Skip Holtz is taking some much-needed time to kick his feet up.

Back home in South Carolina, Holtz said he'll relax and play a little golf after working 37 games over the last 14 months. Holtz led the Stallions to third straight championship in the inaugural UFL title game, a 25-0 humbling of the San Antonio Brahmas.

The Stallions have posted an impressive 32-4 record in three seasons under Holtz, dominating spring professional football during that span. Birmingham finished 11-1 this past season, and Holtz also served as a special assistant to interim head coach David Braun for Northwestern University in 2023, helping the Wildcats go 8-5 and win the Las Vegas Bowl.


Braun had the interim tag removed after the season was over. 

Holtz said he's excited to pursue a fourth straight title, and that's the plan as it stands now. But plans change. Holtz said during his tenure leading the Stallions that he's been contacted about vacancies to return as a head college football coach at a Group of 5 school.

Holtz, 60, was fired as the head coach of Louisiana Tech after eight seasons in 2021, leading that program to seven straight bowl games before suffering through a losing season his final year there. 

Holtz followed in his father's footsteps — legendary college football coach Lou Holtz — into the coaching business. He's been a coach since 1987, including stops at Connecticut, East Carolina, South Florida and Louisiana Tech as a head coach.

"A lot of these Group of 5 schools, the expectations are higher than the reality or the investment that they're willing to make," Holtz said. "You always hear people talk about accomplishing more with less. I was just soured on it. … Right now, I've had a couple calls with an opportunity to go back to the Group of 5. Which I have not had a lot of interest in. 

"I have turned those opportunities down to stay where I am. I love the job that I have. I have really enjoyed working with these athletes and building those relationships. And watching them grow and develop. I just want to be excited about what I'm doing." 

Holtz said he's had phone calls every offseason at Birmingham to gauge his interest in college head coaching jobs with Group of 5 schools, even interviewing for one job after his first season with the Stallions. But he ultimately decided to stay.

"I am not looking for another job," he said. "I'm not applying for a bunch of jobs. I'm not out beating the bushes, like ‘Hey, let's see if I can get that one. Or that one.' And if I can't get anything else, I'll come back. My plan is to come back.

"Now, I don't know what other opportunities are going to present themselves. But if they excite me, then it's something we'll consider." 

Holtz emphasized coaching the Stallions has been one of the best coaching jobs he's had, and that he believes the UFL is the purest form of football going now. He and Stallions general manager Zach Potter have already started to work on building the roster for Year 4 together.

Holtz said one of the things he likes about spring football is the opportunity to watch players grow, while NIL and the transfer portal have muddied the waters in college football.  

"Everybody [in the UFL] makes the same money," he said. "Everybody's got the same resources. Everybody's got the same opportunity through the draft or free agency. And then you get to go compete on the field.

"When you look at college ball right now, I think the NIL is great. I think these players deserve to make some money, with all the money that's being thrown around in college athletics. I think for them to get paid is a positive thing. The transfer portal is a positive thing and needed for a player who made a wrong decision in recruiting. He went somewhere, and he's eighth on the depth chart, and he just wants to play.

"Those opportunities need to be there for those young men to be able to love and enjoy this great game and all the lessons it teaches you in life.  And I think the two of them together right now has turned into people transferring for NIL money. And now, there's not a lot of rules. It's the Wild West." 

Holtz pointed to his relationship with Potter and being able to secure talented players who have moved onto the NFL, like Alex McGough, Brandon Aubrey and DeMarquis Gates.

So far, 12 players from the UFL this season have signed with NFL teams, including former Birmingham running back Ricky Person Jr. with the Seattle Seahawks this week. UFL MVP quarterback Adrian Martinez will likely follow him to the NFL.

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Holtz said that's what the league is all about, helping players grow and develop, providing an opportunity to reach the NFL. And he believes the UFL will continue to gain steam with a focus on growing the game on TV and in the home markets. 

Holtz sees the potential of the UFL playing games on Friday and moving up the schedule earlier in the year to better accommodate the NFL as positive developments for the league. 

"Spring leagues are not about stability," Holtz said. "The whole reason they are in the spring league is to go someplace else. Most of them are there to further their career. To get back to the NFL. Some of them are playing the game just because they love to continue to play. And this is an opportunity to be a part of a team and accomplish something.

"So, for me, when I look back the biggest thing is all the different faces that run in front of me and have been on our rosters over the last three years, and the relationships that we've had to build with them, and watching a lot of these players grow."

Eric D. Williams has reported on the NFL for more than a decade, covering the Los Angeles Rams for Sports Illustrated, the Los Angeles Chargers for ESPN and the Seattle Seahawks for the Tacoma News Tribune. Follow him on Twitter at @eric_d_williams.


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