Nick Holt is in his second season as co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach. He was hired Jan. 2, 2017.
Holt rejoins head coach Jeff Brohm's staff in West Lafayette after coaching Western Kentucky to a 51-31 victory over Memphis as interim head coach.
Prior to being elevated to the interim role, Holt served as the Hilltoppers' associate head coach, defensive coordinator and linebackers coach from 2013 to 2016. A veteran of 31 years of coaching experience, including two as a head coach and 16 as a defensive coordinator, Holt has coached in 15 bowl games, including seven BCS bowls, was on the USC coaching staff that won the 2003 national championship and five Trojan Pacific-10 title staffs.
Under Holt's guidance, the Hilltoppers improved their scoring defense from 121st nationally in 2014 (39.9) to 41st in 2016 (24.6), their total defense from 120th (509.9) to 41st (376.6) and their rushing defense from 111th (220.8) to third (97.2) among FBS schools. In his first season at WKU, the Hilltoppers ranked 15th nationally in total defense (339.2) and 10th in passing defense (177.9).
In his position group at Western Kentucky, senior linebacker Keith Brown was named first team All-Conference USA in 2016 after racking up 131 tackles, including 60 solo, 13 for loss and six sacks, with nine pass breakups, two interceptions and a fumble recovered. Sophomore Joel Iyiegbuniwe and junior T.J. McCollum were named honorable mention All-C-USA in 2016, with Iyiegbuniwe tallying 64 tackles, including 10 for loss and 3.5 sacks, and McCollum finishing third on the team with 85 stops, including four for loss. Senior Nick Holt was named first team All-C-USA in 2015 after recording 90 tackles, including 7.5 for loss and four sacks. In 2013, Xavius Boyd had a career season and was named the Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year, giving WKU the award in consecutive seasons (also Quanterus Smith in 2012). The 2013 Hilltoppers also had a conference-best four players named first team All-SBC: Bar'ee Boyd, Xavius Boyd, Jonathan Dowling and Cam Thomas.
Prior to joining WKU, Holt spent three seasons (2009-11) at Washington as assistant head coach, defensive coordinator and defensive line coach. The Huskies played in the 2011 Alamo Bowl and the 2010 Holiday Bowl, defeating heavily favored Big 12 North champions Nebraska 19-7 in the Holiday. In his first season, Washington cut its scoring defense by nearly 12 points per game (from 38.6 in 2008 to 26.7 in 2009) and its total defense from 451.8 yards per game in 2008 to 389.5 in 2009. The Huskies finished second in the Pac-10 in passing defense in 2010, allowing 194.4 yards per game.
Holt has had two stints at USC, serving three seasons as the 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). With Holt as the coordinator, the 2006 Trojans finished the season ranked 20th in total defense (295.8), 11th in scoring defense (15.2) and tied for ninth in rushing defense (91.1). In 2008, USC led the nation in scoring defense, allowing a paltry 9.0 points per game while holding eight opponents to seven points or less with three shutouts. The 2008 Trojans paced the NCAA in passing defense (134.3) total defense (221.8) and in passing efficiency defense (85.75) while ranking second by allowing 221.8 yards of total offense per game, the lowest total by a Pac-10 school since 1971.
In between stints at USC, Holt was the head coach at Idaho during the 2004 and 2005 seasons, posting a 5-18 record. He previously had served as the Vandals' defensive coordinator and linebackers coach (1994-97) and defensive line and recruiting coordinator (1990-93). The Vandals made five appearances in the Division I-AA playoffs and had the No. 1-ranked rushing defense in 1994.
Holt also has served as the defensive line coach at Louisville (1998-2000) and as the inside linebackers coach (1988-89) and as a graduate assistant (1986-87) at UNLV. With the Cardinals, Holt developed a defensive line that finished second in the nation and broke the school record with 50 sacks. The 2000 team finished second nationally in rushing defense (79.9), went 9-3, won the Conference USA title with a 6-1 record and played in the Liberty Bowl. Louisville also played in the 1998 Motor City Bowl and 1999 Humanitarian Bowl.
Holt has coached/recruited five conference defensive players of the year: Jeff Robinson (1992 Idaho, Big Sky), Ryan Phillips (1995 Idaho, Big Sky), Dwayne White (2001 Louisville, Conference USA), Sedrick Ellis (2006 USC, Pacific-10) and Xavius Boyd (2013 Western Kentucky, Sun Belt).
A native of San Jose, California, Holt was a four-year letterwinner and two-time team captain and Most Valuable Player as a linebacker at the University of Pacific. He was named to the Associated Press All-West Coast team in 1984 and 1985 and an honorable mention All-American in 1985. He graduated in 1986 with a bachelor's degree in political economics.
Holt (born Oct. 15, 1962) and his wife, Julie, have two sons, Nick and Ben.