After coaching at the collegiate level since 1987, Holtz jumped to the professional ranks for the first time last year. Directing the Stallions to a 9-1 record, he captured the 2022 USFL Championship. In 2023, he picked up where he left off, guiding Birmingham to a league-best 8-2 record.
Considered an offensive expert and master motivator, Holtz’s team averaged 28.7 points per game this season, leading the USFL in scoring by a large margin. Under Holtz’s tutelage, Birmingham quarterback Alex McGough set a modern USFL record with 25 touchdowns, was named All-USFL, and is a top contender for MVP. The Stallions go into Sunday’s South Division Championship (7 p.m. ET on FOX and the FOX Sports app) against the New Orleans Breakers on a five-game winning streak, earning the right to host a USFL playoff game in Birmingham for the first time in 38 years.
"All eight of our head coaches did an outstanding job this year and are worthy of being honored in the USFL’s second season. But after overcoming early season injuries to key players and still leading the Birmingham Stallions to the League’s best record, Skip Holtz earned being named the 2023 USFL Coach of the Year," said Daryl Johnston, President of Football Operations. "Skip has created a great culture within the Stallions family and his ability to motivate and develop players is impressive. His record after two regular seasons is a remarkable 17-3. He’s not only a winner on the field, but he’s been an outstanding ambassador to our fans. Skip is integral to the success of the USFL, and we’re grateful for his belief in our mission to deliver quality football to our fans."
The League also awarded the 2023 USFL Assistant Coach of the Year to Pittsburgh Maulers defensive coordinator Jarren Horton. Coaching since 2015, Horton is in his second season leading one of the most feared defenses in the USFL. With three Maulers named to the 11-player All-USFL Defense, Horton’s unit this season was first in yards allowed per game (257.4) and takeaways (20), and second in points allowed per game (17.2). Defense helped Pittsburgh secure its first playoff berth in franchise history. The Maulers face the Michigan Panthers in Saturday’s North Division Championship (8 p.m. ET on NBC and Peacock) in Canton.
This season marks the first time the USFL has honored an Assistant Coach of the Year.
"We know how valuable all members of the coaching staff are to the success of a team, so we thought it was important to add this award in 2023," said Johnston. "We’re proud to honor Coach Jarren Horton as our first recipient of the USFL Assistant Coach of the Year. Jarren has done an outstanding job the last two seasons as the Pittsburgh Maulers Defensive Coordinator. In 2023, his defense led or was near the top in almost every statistical category. We challenge our coaches to bring out the best in their players and Jarren accomplished that feat as three Maulers were named All-USFL Defense. We’re proud to have Jarren as part of the USFL family."
Both award-winning coaches come from football families — Skip is the son of legendary Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz, while Jarren is the son of current Pittsburgh Maulers head coach Ray Horton. Both will be coaching this weekend in hopes of facing each other in the USFL Championship Game (July 1, 8 p.m. ET on NBC and Peacock) in Canton.