ECU Athletic Director Terry Holland gave a press conference on the ECU campus in Greenville Friday about the departure of Skip Holtz and the future of the football program.
We'll be posting the video here on witn.com shortly.
Holland said this came as a surprise this time of year, as head coaching changes normally come at other times.
The search has begun, he said, to "find someone who fits our needs."
Holland said the preference is to find a head coach with experience because managing and hiring a staff is a big part of what a head coach does today.
Holland referenced the stadium expansion, when talking about how a head coach has to help sell season tickets. He said being a head football coach in these times is much more than being a football coach, so he feels it is critical to have someone with experience.
Holland said that doesn't mean ECU will exclude people without experience, but ECU's goal is to find someone with experience.
Holland said all the coaches on the current staff are being talked with tomorrow, to see if they are interested in being a candidate and to hear anything else they have to say.
Holland said most likely, anyone who puts his hat in the ring for a chance to be head coach will most likely not be a candidate for interim head coach.
He said ECU has already signed 22 player prospects, so "we're in good shape."
Holland said ECU has a profile of what they are looking for, referencing Holtz.
"He did a heck of a job for us," Holland said, thanking Skip Holtz, as well as his family.
Holland also said he expects managing the media during the search will be a difficult task, alluding to the media coverage of Holtz's departure.
He said money won't be an issue in finding the next head coach, but getting the right fit for ECU is key. He said ECU has "an attractive situation," but he said the timing is tough with some coaches not being as available now as they might have been at other times.
Holland went on to say "we have a sound program," and there are a lot of good coaches out there.
"This is big for us," he said.
WITN learned Friday that Vernon Hargreaves, East Carolina's defensive ends coach and special teams coordinator, is leaving for South Florida to coach with Skip Holtz.
"Skip Holtz and his family have transformed our expectations of ourselves and our athletic program while contributing to every aspect of our community," ECU Athletics Director Terry Holland said Thursday after the news about Holtz was announced. "They will be missed, but have provided ECU with a solid foundation for future success. It will be up to us to build on that foundation. There has never been any doubt in my mind that the Pirate Nation is the strength of our future and Coach Holtz helped increase the number of members significantly."
"Our search process will begin immediately," Holland added. "We will be seeking a coach who can provide strong leadership and will be able to assemble a staff that will allow us to reach the substantial goals we have set for ourselves."