By the time University of South Florida football coach Skip Holtz returned from an athletic department function in Sarasota and reached his driveway on Tuesday night, his name already had been well-circulated as a candidate for the Arkansas job.
Holtz’s wife, Jennifer, was waiting.
"Why would anybody want to hire you?’’ she said. "You were 5-7 (last season).’’
"My wife … has a way of making me humble,’’ Holtz said.
With that comedic exchange as a backdrop Wednesday, Holtz said he has not been contacted by Arkansas and intends to remain at USF, where he is in the third season of a five-year contract.
"My home is in Tampa,’’ said Holtz, who is 13-12 in his two USF seasons. "My wife is here. My kids are here. This is where I want to be.’’
Holtz lived in Fayetteville, Ark., from his seventh-grade year through high school graduation, when his father, Lou, was the Razorbacks coach. Holtz will earn $1.8 million this season and the Arkansas job would figure to command twice that amount. Holtz’s buyout to escape from his USF contract is $500,000 this season.
When asked if he would listen to a potential Arkansas pitch, Holtz reiterated that his focus is on the USF program.
"I’m (not) standing by the phone,’’ Holtz said. "I can’t control what other people think or what they say. I’m not going to fret … every time a job opens. I’m not looking to leave here. I’m not calling anybody. I’m not trying to put my name out there. I want to be the head football coach here. … We have a lot more things we’re trying to accomplish.’’
Lou Holtz, speaking during an ESPN interview, said he believes Arkansas should hire an interim coach, then search for Bobby Petrino’s permanent successor after the 2012 season. He said his son is happy at USF. Asked to speculate, the first name Lou Holtz mentioned for Arkansas was Butch Davis, hired as special assistant to first-year Bucs coach Greg Schiano in February.