Skip Holtz versus John DeFilippo

Birmingham Stallions head coach Skip Holtz and Memphis Showboats head coach John DeFilippo
Birmingham Stallions head coach Skip Holtz and Memphis Showboats head coach John DeFilippo

Two familiar head coaches will spar on Saturday, April 13, at 7:00 PM at Protective Stadium in Birmingham, Alabama, when the UFL’s Memphis Showboats visit the Birmingham Stallions.

Actually, Birmingham Stallions head coach Skip Holtz would like to clarify one fact, and that is he would not be doing any actual sparring.

“I have not made a tackle, thrown a pass, caught a touchdown, or run the football, nor has John. We have two very talented teams that are going to go up against each other.”

Holtz was referring to John DeFilippo, the Memphis Showboats’ head coach, whom he sees less as an adversary and more as a colleague, except on game day.

“I have great respect for John DeFilippo,” Holtz explained. “When you look at his background, he’s been a coordinator in the NFL for years, and he’s been a quarterback coach. He’s got a brilliant mind, and he does a great job. I just feel fortunate to have the opportunity to stand across from somebody like John and have an opportunity to compete.”

Holtz even acknowledged that he was close friends with DeFilippo, with whom he shares a common understanding.

“I am very good friends with John,” Holtz said. “I think the world of him. I’ve known John for a long time, and we both have fathers who have been in this business. We both grew up around this business., and we both have known each other for a very long time. And there is a mutual respect there.”

However, Holtz was quick to point out, “We’re both very friendly, But when they put that ball on the tee, both of us are going to roll our sleeves up and compete like crazy to find a way to win a football game.”

When asked about his friendship with Skip Holtz, DeFilippo responded, “A friend, 363 days a year,” making reference to the fact that he was scheduled to play against Holtz on two dates this year where he would consider Holtz an adversary and the friendship would be considered valid for the remainder of the days.

You have to consider how Holtz and DeFilippo walk the same path. They are both head coaches in the UFL, and they were both head coaches in the USFL in 2023. They faced the same challenges, and both endured the merger with the XFL. Last year they both worked out of the USFL hub in Birmingham, and this year they are doing the the same in the Arlington-based UFL hub . They have so much in common.

“Coach Holtz and I are very close,” DeFilippo said. “He’s a guy I’ve respected personally for a long time. You know, we were in the hub together last year in Birmingham, so we had to deal with practice issues. We were always talking, and we went to dinner a couple of times.”

“I always hope the best for him, and I know he feels the same way,” DeFilippo said. “It’s going to be a great game on Saturday, and we’re looking forward to it.”

In 2023, when John DeFilippo was head coach of the New Orleans Breakers, he went 1-2 against the Birmingham Stallions led by Skip Holtz. This weekend, DeFilippo will very likely disregard friendship in his pursuit of equalizing the tally.

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