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Friday, May 11, 2012
Holtz's new nickname: Hip Skip

By Andrea Adelson

USF is on the cutting edge of some pretty cool social networking.

Skip Holtz became Hip Skip earlier this week when he became the first coach from an automatic qualifying conference to host a Google Hangout with fans. Essentially, Holtz sat in front of a Web cam for 30 minutes and answered questions from USF fans in a pretty relaxed, casual setting.

USF's Skip Holtz
Coach Skip Holtz did a video chat with fans for about 30 minutes this week.
If there is any coach who is perfectly suited for this type of social networking it is Holtz, one of the most outgoing, gregarious coaches in all of college football. He is easygoing, personable and does not give out the same old tired clichés. He puts thoughts into his answers, and he always does it with a smile.

Needless to say, his Hangout on Google+ was a hit, and USF plans on doing another one closer to the season with either Holtz or perhaps quarterback B.J. Daniels.

So how did USF come up with the idea? Several folks in the athletic department were searching for ways to use social media to their advantage. They initially had an idea to try it out with men's basketball coach Stan Heath around the NCAA tournament. But they didn't have enough time to get the particulars laid out, so they figured they would try with Holtz after spring football ended.

They approached Holtz with the idea and he immediately gave the green light. USF asked fans to submit questions for Holtz, then selected a handful of fans to appear on the chat with Holtz. On Wednesday afternoon around lunch time, Holtz sat in his office and chatted amiably for 30 minutes.

Among the topics he hit:

Holtz reiterated the need for USF to win the Big East. “I would much rather lose one of the nonconference games and represent the Big East in the BCS bowl than have a great nonconference win along the way,” he said.

On the potential for a playoff and where the Big East stands in the BCS: "I would tell you I am a big fan of the bowl system. College football's hard. You look at the number of surgeries, the aches and the pains, the bowl game is a great reward for these teams. If they can take the top four teams they think should play for the 'national championship' and keep the bowl games, I would be in favor of it."

On Aaron Lynch: The plan is for Lynch to enroll for the second summer session. USF will look to see if there is a way for him to be eligible immediately. If not, he has to sit out a year because of NCAA transfer rules.

It was a great way for Holtz to not only interact with his fans, but to get USF's message out and show that the Bulls are among the most forward-thinking programs when it comes to social media.