Italy’s Varese Skorpions sign former Purdue DC Nick Holt as head coach

The Varese Skorpions who play in Italy’s Division 2, have signed former University of Purdue Boilermakers‘ defensive coordinator Nick Holt as their new head coach for he 2021 season.

The Skorpions finished the 2019 season with an overall record of 7-3.

A conversation with Varese’s former and now retired head coach, George Contreras was instrumental in Holt signing with the Skorpions:

“I first met George when I was the defensive coordinator for the University of Washington a few years ago. We hooked up again earlier this year when he involved me in Zoom clinics with European coaches and he mentioned this opportunity. When he decided to retire, he suggested me and since I have always been fascinated with the idea of traveling and coaching football, I took the job.”

The 58 year old Holt, a native of San Jose, California, has had an outstanding 34 year coaching career in the NCAA, most recently as the co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach for the Boilermakers (2017-2019). In his first season with Purdue he helped cut Purdue’s opponent scoring average by 17.7 points from the previous season (38.2 points per game in 2016 to 20.5 points per game in 2017).

He had served as a head coach for two years and has spent 18 years as a defensive coordinator. Holt has coached in 17 bowl games, including seven BCS bowls. He was on the USC coaching staff that won the 2003 national championship and was a part of five Pac-10 title staffs.

Holt led the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers to a 51-31 victory over Memphis in the 2016 Boca Raton Bowl as interim head coach. Prior to that, he served as the Hilltoppers’ associate head coach, defensive coordinator and linebackers coach from 2013 to 2016. Before joining Western Kentucky, Holt spent three seasons (2009-11) with the University of Washington Huskies as assistant head coach, defensive coordinator and defensive line coach. Holt had two stints at USC, serving three seasons as defensive coordinator and line coach (2006-08) and three seasons as linebackers coach (2001-03). During his six combined seasons with the Trojans, USC posted an overall record of 63-14, a Pac-10 record of 41-10, won the 2003 BCS national championship, four Rose Bowls (2003, 2006, 2007 and 2008) and one Orange Bowl (2002).

In between stops at USC, Holt was the head coach at Idaho during the 2004 and 2005 seasons after previously serving as the Vandals’ defensive coordinator and linebackers coach (1994-97) and defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator (1990-93). Holt was the defensive line coach at Louisville (1998-2000) and the inside linebackers coach (1988-89) and a graduate assistant (1986-87) at UNLV.

Needless to say, he is thrilled about the prospects of living and coaching in Italy:

“I am extremely excited about this opportunity and I am looking forward to helping not only coach the team but also the help develop the players. And of course, together with Julie, my wife of 30 years, I am excited to be able to experience Italy from a totally different perspective.”

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