GREENVILLE, N.C. - East Carolina University has announced that an extension of head football coach Skip Holtz' contract, which would help secure his position through the 2013 season, was approved Friday by the University's Board of Trustees. The new six-year agreement provides a guaranteed compensation package of $4.07 million and a modified incentive and bonus structure that could reach a total of approximately $9.5 million.
Holtz, who has led the Pirates to two bowl appearances and consecutive winning seasons for the first time since the 1999 and 2000 campaigns, has guided No. 23 East Carolina to a 3-1 start in 2008. Included in the three victories was a 27-22 triumph over No. 17 Virginia Tech in the season opener and a 24-3 decision over No. 8 West Virginia that vaulted ECU into the Top 25 for the first time since 1999.
The contract calls for a guaranteed base salary, marketing, radio and television total of $565,000 in 2008 with an increase to $605,000 in 2009 before $50,000 additions in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 if Holtz remains the head coach for the Pirates. Incentive and bonus compensation related to season ticket sales (amount equal to $25 per season ticket sold), Pirate Club donations (amount equal to five percent of annual fund) and student academic success (starting at $100,000 and increasing by $25,000 per year) are also a part of the agreement.
"I remain genuinely appreciative and grateful to the leadership we have at East Carolina for the confidence and support they have in the direction that our program is heading," Holtz said. "The level of commitment that is currently in place at ECU and the unmatched support of the Pirate Nation have allowed us to be in a competitive position at college football’s highest level."
Holtz, 44, became East Carolina's 19th head football coach in the school's history on Dec. 3, 2004 and quickly revived a program that had won just three contests in a 25-game period in two-plus seasons prior to his arrival. Accompanying the Pirates' turnaround on the field, which include a 7-6 finish in 2006 and an 8-5 record in 2007, has been dramatic school-record attendance increases at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.
In all, ECU has drawn six of Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium's top 10 all-time crowds since Holtz' arrival which helped produce new school records a year ago in both average (41,537) and total attendance (249,219). The Pirates' 2008 home opener against the Mountaineers Sept. 6 drew 43,610 fans, ranking as the largest in the Holtz Era and fourth-largest in stadium history.
“The contract is consistent with our desire to continue the tremendous strides our football program has made over the past four years.” East Carolina Director of Athletics Terry Holland said. “One of the keys to our growth has been the stability of leadership and it is our hope that this will remain in place in the future.”
East Carolina also captured its first post-season victory since 1999 under Holtz' leadership last year when the Pirates posted a 41-38 win over No. 24 Boise State in the Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl. He currently owns an overall record of 23-18 heading into Saturday's Conference USA contest against Houston, despite annually playing one of the toughest schedules in program history over the past four years that includes 13 (of 14) non-conference games against Bowl Championship Series members.
The agreement also includes a $100,000 buy-out clause should Holtz leave ECU prior to the expiration of the contract.