Holt returning as defensive coordinator, associate head coach

Hilltopper Defensive Coordinator Nick Holt (left) yells to linebacker Daqual Randall, No. 17, to catch a relay partner in a running exercise during practice on Wednesday at Smith Stadium.

Lucas Aulbach

New coach Jeff Brohm faces a tall task in replacing the production of former coach Bobby Petrino in his one year at WKU, but he wont be the only familiar face on the sideline next year.

Brohm took the time at his introductory press conference Friday to announce that defensive coordinator Nick Holt will be back with the Toppers next season. Holt has also assumed the title of associate head coach, which was Brohm’s title last year before his recent promotion.

Brohm said Holt was a big reason why the Toppers were able to finish last season at 8-4, the best FBS record in school history.

“He has done tremendous job,” he said about Holt. “He has coached at a high level at numerous colleges for years. He is not only a great coach, but a great person and a great teacher, great motivator and cares about his players deeply.”

Holt’s return wasn’t always a sure thing.

When former coach Bobby Petrino officially accepted the same position at Louisville and started assembling a staff, Holt was a name many thought the coach might bring with him. Several WKU staff members and former wide receivers coach Lamar Thomas followed Petrino to Louisville, and Holt said he had the opportunity to join them.

A lot of factors, such as an appreciation for Athletics Director Todd Stewart and President Gary Ransdell and respect for Brohm, convinced Holt to stay at WKU, he said.

He said his family played a big role in his decision as well.

“It’s tough decisions, but I like it here,” Holt said. “I believe in the administration, my wife is very happy here and I have two sons who love it here. So it’s a good place. I’ve traveled enough that I don’t need to be jumping around at this stage in my career. I’m perfectly content here right now and to do something special with WKU.”

Senior defensive back Cam Thomas said he was pleased Holt could be one of the many coaches that will return for next season.

“To have the staff together is going to bring a homey feel,” Thomas said “We will be able to introduce the new guys to system that we really do know.”

While the team won’t hit the field again for spring practice until March, Holt said he’s excited to get back to work.

“I think this place is a sleeping giant, and we have to wake it up, and I think it’s being awoken,” he said. “I can’t wait to get started.”