East Carolina Head Coach Skip Holtz and junior defensive end C.J. Wilson were named Conference USA Coach-of-the-Year and Defensive Most Valuable Player Monday morning by the Sporting News Magazine
Holtz, who led the Pirates to a 27-24 victory over Tulsa to earn the program’s first Conference USA Championship, has directed East Carolina to a 9-4 record in 2008, the program’s highest single-season win total since 1999. The Pirates will meet Southeastern Conference-member Kentucky in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl Jan. 2 vying for their 10th victory, which would be a first for ECU in a season since the 1991 campaign. Wilson added to his hardware collection early last week when he was named first-team All C-USA by the leaguesâ€™ coaches and
Phil Steele Magazine. The Belhaven native has started 22 consecutive games and this season has recorded a half TFL in 12-of-13 contests and a sack in 9-of-13 games. He currently ranks among the NCAA active leaders in assisted sacks (8th), assisted TFLs (12th), total sacks (12th), total sacks per game (12th) and solo sacks (20th).
Wilson helped the defensive unit force at least two turnovers in 10 games, hold three opponents to less than 100-yards rushing (Tulane/76, UCF/82, UTEP/57) and two opponents to 100-yards or fewer passing (WVU/72, Memphis/82).The Pirates will take the next 10 days off for the holidays before returning the field for bowl preparations on Dec. 26.
CONFERENCE USA AWARDS
Offensive MVP: David Johnson, QB, Tulsa
Defensive MVP: C.J. Wilson, DE, East Carolina Coach-of-the-Year: Skip Holtz, East Carolina
Freshman of the year: DeAndre Brown, WR, Southern Miss