American Football Database
Nick Holt
Holt in October 2007
Current position
TitleDefensive Coordinator
TeamWestern Kentucky
Biographical details
Born (1962-10-15) October 15, 1962 (age 59)
Playing career
1981, 1983-1985Pacific
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
St. Mary's HS - DC
Idaho - DL
Idaho - DC/DL
Idaho - DC/LB
Louisville - DL
Washington - DC (AHC)
Arkansas - RC
Western Kentucky- DC
Head coaching record
Overall5-18 (Idaho)
College Football Data Warehouse

Holt coaching the Trojans in 2008.

Nicholas "Nick" Holt V [1] (born October 15, 1962) is a college football coach, currently the defensive coordinator for the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers.[2] Prior to taking the position in 2013, he was the defensive coordinator and assistant head coach of the Washington Huskies for three seasons.[3] Previously, Holt was the defensive coordinator and defensive line coach of the USC Trojans, and the head coach of the Idaho Vandals from 2004-05.


Nick Holt attended high school at Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose, California, where he played football and baseball and graduated in 1981. He attended the University of the Pacific in Stockton, where he played linebacker and lettered for four years for the Tigers. In his senior season of 1985, Holt was an All-American honorable mention, Pacific's MVP and a team captain. He graduated from UOP in 1986 with a bachelor's degree in political economics.

Coaching career

In 1986, Holt served as defensive coordinator at St. Mary's High School in Stockton. In 1987 he moved to Las Vegas to coach linebackers at UNLV, serving as a graduate assistant during the first season. In 1990 Holt moved north to serve as the defensive line coach at Idaho under head coach John L. Smith, then Chris Tormey. After eight seasons in Moscow, he moved east in 1998 to Louisville to coach the defensive line under John L. Smith again. After three seasons with the Cardinals, Holt returned west in 2001 to Los Angeles to coach the linebackers at USC under Pete Carroll, where he stayed for three seasons.


Following the 2003 season, Tom Cable was fired after four seasons at Idaho. Holt returned to the Palouse and was hired as the head coach, signing a four-year contract at $205,000 per year.[4] The Vandals went 3-9 in 2004 in their last season in the Sun Belt Conference and 2-9 in 2005, their first season in the WAC.[5] During his tenure at Idaho, a game was scheduled between the Vandals and his former Trojans for September 1, 2007.[6] Holt decided to take the game because it offered an opportunity to increase visibility to recruits in the region as well earn Idaho $600,000 for the appearance.[7] However, despite a contract that ran through 2008, Holt departed after two seasons to return to USC, 19 months before the game was played.


When former Idaho quarterback and alumnus Scott Linehan became head coach of the NFL's St. Louis Rams, he offered Holt a position as his defensive line coach. The two had coached together under John L. Smith at both Idaho and Louisville. Deciding to make a move before his children entered high school, Holt resigned as head coach from Idaho on February 6, 2006, to take a position with the Rams. After hearing the news, USC head coach Pete Carroll offered his former assistant more money and the position of defensive coordinator. A day later, Holt declined the offer from the Rams (estimated at $320,000 annually,[8] he had not signed a contract) to return to USC, and took over defensive coordinator responsibilities from Carroll.[7] Holt signed a three-year contract exceeding $1.4 million. [8] His second tour at USC also lasted three seasons, while the Trojans posted a 34-5 record (.872).


In December 2008, USC Trojans offensive coordinator and colleague Steve Sarkisian was hired as the head coach of the Washington Huskies in Seattle. Sarkisian and Holt coached their final game with the Trojans, the Rose Bowl, on January 1, 2009. Though it meant moving the family while the children were in high school, on January 5, 2009, Holt accepted the position of defensive coordinator at Washington, taking over for Ed Donatell, who was not retained by Sarkisian.[3] Holt signed a three-year contract valued at $2.1 million.[9]

At the end of Holt's second season at UW in 2010, the Husky defense appeared improved as the team went on a three-game winning streak to finish the regular season and become bowl-eligible, capped with a 19-7 victory over Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl.[10]

2011 season

While 2011 saw the emergence of sophomore quarterback Keith Price and improvement on offense, the Huskies were ranked near the bottom in the conference and nationally on defense (of 120 FBS teams: 106th in yards allowed, 108th in points allowed, 116th in passing yards allowed).[11] Washington broke to an early 5-1 record and was bowl-eligible in October, but lost three straight in November before winning the Apple Cup to finish the regular season at 7-5. The five losses were not close games, with copious points and yardage yielded on defense, including 65 points at Stanford, with most of the damage coming from the Cardinal running game, not quarterback Andrew Luck.[10] At the Alamo Bowl, the Huskies faced Baylor, with Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III at quarterback. Similar to the Stanford game, the Huskies generally contained the high-profile quarterback, but were soundly beaten by the rest of the offense. Despite scoring eight touchdowns on offense, the Huskies gave up 67 points and 777 yards on defense, and lost by 11 points.

Holt was fired two days later, as were linebackers coach Mike Cox and safeties coach Jeff Mills. All three coaches had contracts through the 2012 season,[12] totaling over $1 million.[1][13] Cornerbacks coach Demetrice Martin left the staff two weeks earlier for UCLA under new head coach Jim Mora.[14] Johnny Nansen, defensive line and special teams, was the only defensive coach remaining on the UW staff at the end of 2011.[12][15] The three released coaches were given lump sum payments for the 2012 season: Holt ($650,004), Cox ($220,008), Mills ($155,004).[16] Cox went to Kansas State as the linebackers coach and Mills to New Mexico as defensive coordinator.[17]


In August 2012, Holt was named the on-campus recruiting coordinator at Arkansas, under new head coach John L. Smith.[2] The position was previously held by Jessica Dorrell, the mistress of fired head coach Bobby Petrino, at a salary of $55,735 per year. Holt was scheduled to receive similar compensation.[18]

Western Kentucky

On January 2, 2013, Holt was named defensive coordinator at Western Kentucky, under new head coach Bobby Petrino. Petrino was hired by WKU after Willie Taggart left for South Florida. Holt and Petrino served together on Smith's staff at Idaho in 1990 and 1991 and again at Louisville in 1998.

Head coaching record

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
Idaho Vandals (Sun Belt Conference) (2004)
2004 Idaho 3–9 2–5 T–7th
Idaho Vandals (Western Athletic Conference) (2005)
2005 Idaho 2–9 2–6 T–6th
Idaho: 5–18 4–11
Total: 5–18


Holt was born October 15, 1962. He and his wife, Julie Hickey Holt (who was the head women's basketball coach at Nevada-Reno, Pacific, Gonzaga, Idaho and Los Angeles Harbor Junior College), have 2 sons, Nick VI and Ben.[19] Holt's maternal grandfather was Buster Crabbe (1908-83), an All-American swimmer at USC who won a gold medal in the 400 m freestyle at the 1932 Olympics and then starred in film as Tarzan, Flash Gordon, and Buck Rogers.[20]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Spokesman-Review - Washington State Employee Salaries - Assistant football coach employees - Univ. of Washington - 2010 compensation - accessed 2011-12-31
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Holt named On-Campus Recruiting Coordinator". University of Arkansas Athletics. August 15, 2012. Retrieved August 16, 2012.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Holt takes over Washington's defense, Associated Press, January 5, 2009, Accessed January 5, 2009.
  4. - Idaho coach Holt confirms exit for NFL's Rams - Associated Press - 2006-02-08
  5. College Football Data - Nick Holt - head coaching record - accessed 2009-10-09
  6. Gary Klein, Opener against Idaho is Holt's legacy, Los Angeles Times, August 27, 2007.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Matt Baney, About to renew acquaintances, Lewiston Tribune, August 29, 2007.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Spokesman-Review - Holt 'soap opera' takes turn - 2006-02-08
  9. The Tacoma News Tribune - Nick Holt's intensity comes with a price - 2009-01-07
  10. 10.0 10.1 Yahoo sports - Holt, 2 other defensive coaches out at Washington - Associated Press - 2011-12-31
  11. "College football statistics: 2011, national". Retrieved August 16, 2012.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Seattle Times - Holt, Mills, Cox fired - Husky blog - 2011-12-31
  13. Seattle Times - All UW assistants signed through 2012 season (or about to be) - Husky blog - 2011-04-06
  14. Seattle Times - Huskies lose cornerbacks coach Demetrice Martin to UCLA - Husky blog - 2011-12-14
  15. Go - University of Washington athletics - football - coaches - accessed 2011-12-31
  16. Condotta, Bob (December 31, 2011). "Huskies fire defensive coordinator Nick Holt, two other defensive assistant coaches". Seattle Times. Retrieved August 16, 2012.
  17. Condotta, Bob (August 8, 2012). "Husky football blog: Nick Holt headed to Arkansas". Seattle Times. Retrieved August 16, 2012.
  18. Henry, Larry (August 15, 2012). "Arkansas names Nick Holt to job held by Petrino’s mistress". KFSM TV. Retrieved August 16, 2012.
  19." - Bio for Nick Holt, USC Defensive Coordinator, 2006-08 - accessed 2012-07-25
  20. Condotta, Bob (January 6, 2009). "UW football hires USC's Nick Holt as defensive coordinator". Seattle Times. Retrieved August 16, 2012.

External links