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Nick Holt
Nick Holt

San Jose, Calif.

High School:
Bellarmine Prep

Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator

3rd Year

Alma Mater:
Pacific '86


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Dawgs Return To L.A. To Face 18th-Ranked USC

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Washington vs. Oregon, Nov. 5, 2011

Huskies and Ducks play the final game at Husky Stadium prior to major renovations.

Nick Holt was named the Huskies' assistant head coach and defensive coordinator in January of 2009. The 2011 season will be his third in that role.

Holt's defense played a key role in the Huskies' late-season run to the Holiday Bowl in 2010. Continued improvement across the board culminated in the bowl game, where the UW defense held Nebraska to just seven points in a 19-7 victory, the last in a season-ending, four-game win streak. A big part of that success was predicated on a pass defense that ended the year ranked No. 2 in the Pac-10.

His first season in charge of the Husky defense, 2009, saw the statistics improve dramatically across the board. Washington's defensive gave up 12 fewer points per game than it did in 2008 and the team allowed 62 fewer yard per game than it did the previous year.

Washington also made big improvements in red-zone defense, sacks, turnover margin and opponents' third-down conversion percentage.

The season culminated with a shutout of Washington State in the Apple Cup and a 42-10 win over 19th-ranked California in the season finale, with the continually-improving defense performing at its highest level at the end of the year.

Prior to joining the UW staff, Holt completed the third year as defensive coordinator at USC, where he worked alongside Husky head coach Steve Sarkisian, the Trojans' former offensive coordinator. Together, under head coach Pete Carroll, they helped lead USC to its NCAA-record seventh straight 11-win season, a seventh consecutive Pac-10 title and seven BCS bowl berths in a row. The Trojans beat Penn State for their unprecedented third straight Rose Bowl victory.

Holt, the Trojans' defensive line coach and defensive coordinator from 2006 through 2008, had also served as USC's linebackers coach from 2001 to 2003. In between, during the 2004 and 2005 seasons, he was head coach at Idaho, where he'd previously worked a defensive coordinator.

The 2008 Trojans completed the season as the nation's No. 2 overall defense, finishing second in the FBS in total defense (221.77 yards per game), first in scoring defense (9.00 points per game), first in pass defense (134.38) and first pass efficiency defense (85.75). USC was also No. 5 in rushing defense (87.38 yards per game). The '08 Trojans posted three shutouts and held eight of 12 regular-season opponents to seven or fewer points.

Those dominant stats topped a year-by-year improvement since Holt took over as defensive coordinator in 2006. In 2005, USC ranked 48th in the nation in total defense and 35th in scoring defense. The following season, Holt's first as coordinator, the Trojans improved to 20th in total defense, 11th in scoring defense and ninth (tied) in rushing defense.

The trend continued in 2007 as the Trojans finished the year as the country's No. 2-ranked team in both total and scoring defense, while finishing fourth in rush defense and sixth in pass efficiency defense.

Holt has helped produce an impressive list of defensive linemen during his most recent stint at USC. This season, end Fili Moala earned first-team All-Pac-10 honors while Clay Matthews was a second-team selection and Kyle Moore earned honorable mention.

Defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis earned first-team All-America in 2006 and 2007, was named the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year in 2007 and twice won the Morris Trophy before being drafted by New Orleans with the seventh overall pick of the 2007 draft.

End Lawrence Jackson was a first-team All-Pac-10 selection in 2007 before the Seahawks drafted him 28th overall.

In his previous term at USC, as linebackers coach, he mentored All-Pac-10 first-teamer Matt Grootegoed, as well as future All-American Lofa Tatupa, now a star with the Seahawks.

Holt has coached four different players that have been selected as Defensive Player of the Year in their respective conferences: Jeff Robinson and Ryan Phillips (Big Sky Conference), DeWayne White (Conference USA) and Sedrick Ellis (Pac-10).

A graduate of Bellarmine Prep in San Jose, Calif., Holt went on to an outstanding playing career as a linebacker at the University of the Pacific, earning four letters and honorable mention All-America honors in 1985, when he was the Tigers' MVP and team captain.

After working one season as an assistant coach at St. Mary's High School in Stockton, Calif., Holt began his college coaching career as a graduate assistant at UNLV in 1987. After a season in that role, he was promoted to linebackers coach for the Rebels, holding that spot for two seasons.

In 1990, he was hired as defensive line coach at Idaho under head coach John L. Smith. He held that role through 1993 before being promoted to defensive coordinator in 1994. Holt was coordinator and defensive line coach for a season and then, after Smith left, served as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach under Chris Tormey for three seasons (1995-97). In 1994, the Vandals ranked first in NCAA Division I-AA in rush defense and then ranked fifth in that same category in 1995.

From 1998 to 2000, Holt once again worked under Smith, spending three years as defensive line coach at Louisville, which finished second in the nation in rushing defense and set a school record for sacks (50, good for second in the nation) in 2000. Then, in 2001, he moved on to USC, where he worked as linebackers coach under Carroll. After helping the Trojans to the national championship in 2003, he was named head coach at Idaho in 2004.

A 1986 graduate of Pacific, with a bachelor's degree in political economics, Holt and his wife Julie (the former head women's basketball coach at Nevada, Pacific, Gonzaga and Idaho) have two sons, Nick and Ben.

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