After five seasons with East Carolina, and almost as many chances to leave, Skip Holtz finally said goodbye to the Pirates on Thursday and accepted the coaching job at South Florida.
Holtz leaves ECU with two consecutive Conference USA titles, four straight bowl appearances and a 38-27 record. He inherited a program in 2005 that was coming off 3-20 two-year stretch.
In the past three years, Holtz was in the mix for jobs at Cincinnati (twice), Syracuse and West Virginia but remained in Greenville.
"I'm glad he stayed my whole career," ECU senior defensive end C.J. Wilson said. "We all knew he had other opportunities. I'm happy for him but sad that he's leaving ECU."
With the Feb. 3 signing day looming, the Pirates need a new coach as soon as possible. In a statement released by the school, ECU athletic director Terry Holland said he has started his search. He also thanked Holtz and his family.
"They will be missed, but have provided ECU with a solid foundation for future success," Holland said. "It will be up to us to build on that foundation."
Temple coach Al Golden, Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster and former Clemson coach Tommy Bowden are three possible candidates.