Originally created 11/25/03

3 Gamecocks assistants fired

Apparently, South Carolina football coach Lou Holtz was serious when he said there would be changes on his coaching staff.

According to radio and television reports in Columbia, Holtz fired three of his assistants and demoted another Monday - less than 48 hours after his Gamecocks ended the season in a humiliating 63-17 home loss to Clemson.

Holtz reportedly dismissed three coaches who have been on his staff during his five-season tenure at South Carolina:

Chris Cosh, who spent four seasons as linebackers coach before being promoted to defensive coordinator after the 2002 season.

Dave DeGuglielmo, who spent all five seasons as offensive line coach.

Todd Fitch, who was quarterbacks coach in 2003 after four years in charge of wide receivers.

Defensive backs coach John Gutekunst, a former head coach at Minnesota and a longtime friend of Holtz, will reportedly be reassigned to an administrative role.

South Carolina sports information director Kerry Tharp would neither confirm nor deny the apparent purge. When reached at his office Monday evening, athletic director Mike McGee referred questions on the matter to Holtz and Tharp.

On Sunday, a day after his team finished 5-7 for the second consecutive season, Holtz said firings could be imminent.

"There's always coaching changes after a year like this," said Holtz, who has a 27-32 record at South Carolina. "You've got to examine everything from top to bottom, look at it, analyze it and make intelligent decisions."

Holtz was given a vote of confidence last week by his administration after receiving a one-year contract extension, which kept his agreement at a five-year term.

At the time, McGee said the future "could not be more promising" for the Gamecocks, and that Holtz could still lead the team to its goal of becoming "a championship-caliber program."

On Monday, McGee declined to say whether he had the same confidence after the loss to Clemson - South Carolina's worst to the Tigers since 1900.

"We have visited with Coach Holtz, and we're continuing to do so," he said. "Anything public I say will be at the conclusion of those conversations."

Reach Larry Williams at (706) 823-3645 or larry.williams@augustachronicle.com.


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