East Carolina coach Skip Holtz has withdrawn his name from consideration as Syracuse's head coach and declined further discussions regarding the topic.
"While it is always flattering for others to have interest in your abilities," Holtz said in a statement issued by the school, "I simply am too focused on our preparations for the bowl game and many other of our short and long-term goals to fairly evaluate what I feel is a promising situation at Syracuse."
The statement only references Syracuse, not Holtz's intent to remain at ECU for the 2009 season. But questions about his potential interest in job openings at Auburn and elsewhere followed him this afternoon to Memphis, where Holtz attended a news conference held by Liberty Bowl organizers.
"You know what? I'm happy with the one I have," Holtz said when asked by N&O sportswriter A.J. Carr about other coaching jobs. "I'm excited about having the opportunity to be here at East Carolina and [to] represent East Carolina in this bowl game. And I'll be more than happy to maybe address all those things with our own media in Greenville when we have the opportunity to get back there.
"We have bowl practice this week, but right now the focus is on today ..."
Holtz is flying back from Memphis today and will lead the Pirates in the first of three weekend practice sessions.
The 44-year-old Holtz is 29-21 in his fourth season at ECU. Syracuse fired Greg Robinson after four seasons at the Big East school.
The 9-4 Pirates, who won the Conference USA championship, will face Kentucky in the Liberty Bowl on Jan. 2 in Memphis.