The News Courier in Athens, Alabama


August 8, 2013

Tulsa, ECU chance to exit C-USA with another title


The only way Holtz faces East Carolina is if both teams make it to the league championship game.

When Tulsa, East Carolina and Tulane head to the American Athletic Conference, there will be seven former C-USA teams next season in the league that used to be the Big East.



1) WELCOME — AND STAY AWHILE: There are four first-year coaches in C-USA, and all are at schools set to still be in the league next season. Sean Kugler is a UTEP alum and former assistant (1993-2000) who then coached for three NFL teams before getting his first head coaching job as Mike Price's replacement. Former Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Todd Monken takes over at Southern Miss, which was the only winless FBS team last season at 0-12, coming a year after the Golden Eagles were 12-2 and C-USA champs. Southern Miss next season will be the only team remaining from the original 1996 C-USA lineup. Holtz spent the last three seasons in the Big East with South Florida. Ron Turner is in his first season at FIU after working for three different NFL teams since his stint at Illinois' head coach from 1997-2004.

2) LOT OF LONE STAR: Four of the league's 14 teams are in Texas — North Texas, Rice, UTEP and UTSA. That should help build some regional rivalries, especially with all of them in the West Division. "You look back at the Southwest Conference days, all the great rivalries existed because of the locations of the universities," Rice coach David Bailiff said. And Louisiana Tech, which had been in the WAC, isn't too far away. "All of a sudden you've got car-ride trips for your fan base, where people get in the car and put the flag in the window," Holtz said. "Their fans can also come to our place, which I think is going to be a completely different atmosphere for Louisiana Tech. Because being in the WAC, every trip's been a plane ride."

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