Does Lou Holtz deserve Presidential Medal of Freedom? Internet slams former Notre Dame coach's personal views

Trump said, 'Incredible leader, Lou Holtz. I’ve known him for a long time, he’s been a friend of mine. I think I’ve received letters from every football coach, almost, in the nation'

                            Does Lou Holtz deserve Presidential Medal of Freedom? Internet slams former Notre Dame coach's personal views
Lou Holtz (Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on September 4 announced that former Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom – one of the highest civilian awards in the country. Trump said, “Incredible leader, Lou Holtz. I’ve known him for a long time, he’s been a friend of mine. I think I’ve received letters from every football coach, almost, in the nation. That’s a little exaggeration, but some of the greats. Nick Saban wrote a letter, Coach O ... and Urban Meyer wrote a beautiful letter. So many of the other great, legendary coaches. Not only coaches, people in sports, and people in life. Even great political people recommending Lou for the Presidential Medal of Freedom.”

He continued, “ We’ve analyzed it very closely. We’ve looked at all of those recommendations. We’ve looked at Lou’s life and his career, what he’s done for charity. The football is obvious, he was a great coach but what he’s done beyond even coaching. So, Lou will be getting the Presidential Medal of Freedom.”


According to ESPN, Holtz spent 34 years coaching both college and professional football teams. He is known for his 11-season stint as Notre Dame's head coach. Yahoo Sports states that Notre Dame was one of his most notable successes -- his team won a national championship in 1988 with a 12-0 season. The report states that in 11 seasons at South Bend, Holtz had a 100-30-2 record and five 10-win seasons. Holtz coached the New York Jets in 1976. He ended his career at South Carolina, where he was the head coach for six seasons, from 1999 to 2004.

Holtz’s coaching tree includes famous names such as Urban  Meyer, Pete Carroll, Barry Alvarez and Houston Nutt and current Louisiana Tech head coach and his son Skip Holtz, according to Yahoo Sports. As per the report, after retirement, he took the role of a commentator for CBS Sports and ESPN, headlining the latter’s ‘College Football Live’ until the network let him go in 2015.

Recently, he was one of the speakers at the Republican National Convention. He said, as per a LA Times transcript, “I used to ask our athletes at Notre Dame if you did not show up, who would miss you and why? Can you imagine what would happen to us if President Trump had not shown up in 2016 to run for president? I’m so glad he showed up. Thank you for showing up, Mr. President. I encourage everyone who loves this country, who loves America, to show up in November for President Trump.”

He even attacked Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden and his campaign by saying, “The Biden-Harris ticket is the most radically pro-abortion campaign in history. They and other politicians are Catholics in name only and abandon innocent lives. President Trump protects those lives. I trust President Trump.”

But his comments led Fr. John Jenkins, the president of Notre Dame, to issue a statement distancing the University from Holtz’s opinions. As quoted by Yahoo Sports, the statement read, “While Coach Lou Holtz is a former coach at Notre Dame, his use of the University’s name at the Republican National Convention must not be taken to imply that the University endorses his views, any candidate or any political party.” He added, “Moreover, we Catholics should remind ourselves that while we may judge the objective moral quality of another’s actions, we must never question the sincerity of another’s faith, which is due to the mysterious working of grace in that person’s heart. In this fractious time, let us remember that our highest calling is to love.”

He also recently supported the need for college football to happen in the fall during the coronavirus pandemic. A USA Today report states, after two Power Five conferences announced the postponement of college football this fall, Holtz speaking to Fox News host Bill Hemmer equated college football amid Covid-19 concerns to American soldiers storming the beaches of Normandy during World War II. The report quotes him as saying, “Let's move on with our life. When they stormed Normandy, they knew there were going to be casualties and there would be risks.” He further stated, “If you have an asthma problem or you're a diabetic or have a legitimate reason that you don't want to play, absolutely, don't play. The rest of you that want to play. Let's go play. We shut everything down for six months. I'm going crazy if I'm being quarantined. I think other people are tired of it.”

After the news of him receiving the award broke, Twitter weighed in with their ‘opinions’. One said, "Trump is awarding the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Lou Holtz for questioning Joe Biden’s Catholic Faith. The Presidential Medal of Freedom has now been reduced to a participation trophy for Trumpists."


Another stated, "Usually the Presidential Medal of Freedom is given for “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors". Lou Holtz is getting it for attacking Joe Biden."


Another said, "No clue why he is receiving this, but I’ll forever love Lou Holtz. Incredible motivator."


According to Yahoo Sports, Trump has awarded the Medal of Freedom to numerous sports figures since taking office, including Roger Staubach, Tiger Woods, Bob Cousy, Jerry West, Mariano Rivera, Roger Penske and Jim Ryun.

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