Holt Brings Fire To UW Football

Jan. 7, 2009

By Christian Caple
The Daily

There won't be a lack of fire or intensity on the UW football practice field next season.

New head coach Steve Sarkisian made sure of that Monday, luring Nick Holt away from USC to serve as the Huskies' new defensive coordinator.

Holt was introduced at a press conference yesterday, drawing laughter and lighthearted comments from Sarkisian about his passionate demeanor.

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'The opportunity here is awesome,' Holt said. 'I had forgotten -- I hadn't been up here since two years ago when we came up here to play -- but I had forgotten how great a place this is and can become, so it's really being able to be a part of coach's staff and do something special here at, I think, a real special place.'

As USC's defensive coordinator, Holt oversaw one the most consistently dominating defenses in the country. The Trojans allowed just more than seven points per game last season, easily the best in the Pac-10. USC recorded three shutouts -- one of them a 56-0 drubbing of Washington -- and allowed only four second-half touchdowns before the Jan. 1 Rose Bowl game.

And his apparent value was not overlooked by UW Athletic Director Scott Woodward; Holt's contract is worth a total of $2.1 million over three years -- or $700,000 per year, which includes a $200,000 retention bonus -- a princely sum for a coordinator. Holt will make more than WSU head coach Paul Wulff.

Though Holt insisted it wasn't about the money, it probably didn't hurt: He'll be making a lateral move, leaving the best defense in the country to try to reconstruct one of the nation's worst. Washington gave up 451 yards and more than 38 points per game last season.

But both Sarkisian and Holt spoke of the future as if success was certain, perhaps a testament to the new attitude and culture change in Husky football.

'It's going to be a great run together,' Sarkisian said, also making reference to Holt as the best defensive coordinator in the country. 'And I can't say enough about him and his coaching style, what he's going to bring to this program and where we're headed.'

Holt spoke just as glowingly of Sarkisian.

'You guys got a tremendous, tremendous football coach in coach Sarkisian,' Holt said. 'The best offensive mind in college football, without a doubt. He's a rising star and I wanted to be a part of that.'

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