USF coach Skip Holtz will try his hand at golf next week, when he participates in the American Century Championship with many other sports and entertainment stars at Lake Tahoe.
Holtz will be joined there by several other prominent football coaches -- Urban Meyer of Ohio State, Steve Spurrier of South Carolina and Mike Smith of the Atlanta Falcons.
In advance of the tournament, which begins July 20, Holtz was on a conference call Wednesday. I had a chance to ask about his new contract and increasing expectations for 2012. Here is a little of what he had to say:
On the new contract, increasing his salary to $2 million through 2017: "It's an honor, and I just have great respect for Judy Genshaft our president and Doug Woolard our athletic director, for them to show the sign of faith in the progress we've made in the program. When you look from a win-loss standpoint, last year -- it wasn't what we were hoping for. But being able to look past that, at the quality and character of the young men in our program, the progress we've made academically, the progress we've made on the field as a young program, it's meant a lot to me that they were willing to say, 'We want you to be our football coach.' I believe in South Florida. I believe in the people that are there, I believe in the things that are there."
On growing expectations nationally for USF: "For me, those come along with the program. Everybody wants to be in the driver's seat, everybody want to have a football team capable of winning and with that comes expectations. People can see a four-year starter at quarterback in B.J. Daniels, the number of starters we return, but we have to keep our nose to the grindstone. It's very competitive in the Big East. There's a lot of good football teams. Nonconference, we play Nevada, play Florida State, play Miami. I embrace the expectations because as much as they may be high on the outside, they're not higher than what we shoot for on the inside of the program. But we have to keep grounded at the same time an understand each and every week, it's a football game. You can't turn the ball over, have foolish penalties and make a lot of mistakes. We lost a lot of close games last year, and that's adding fuel to the fire because they realize how close they were last year."
No talk with Holtz would be complete without a one-liner. Holtz and his wife, Jennifer, are celebrating their 20th anniversary this week. He quipped, "I told her I would take her to Tahoe for our anniversary, and I would play golf and she would probably play the slot machines."