Lou Holtz is about to get a big award from President Donald Trump. On Wednesday, the White House announced that Trump will award the former Notre Dame and South Carolina football coach the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Thursday. The award is the nation's highest civilian honor, which may be awarded by the president to people who have made "meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors."
Trump first announced the news at a press conference in September but was confirmed this week. "Incredible leader, Lou Holtz. I've known him for a long time, he's been a friend of mine," Trump said during the news conference at the time. "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 [Ed Orgeron] ... and Urban Meyer wrote a beautiful letter. So many of the other great, legendary coaches."
The statement from the White House also explained that Holtz is "one of the greatest football coaches of all time for his unmatched accomplishments on the gridiron, but he is also a philanthropist, author, and true American patriot." Before Holtz became a legendary college football coach, he attended Kent State where he played linebacker. He then joined the United States Army Reserve and served as an officer.
“I was taught at an early age that I had an obligation to serve my country," Holtz said. He then went on to become a coach, starting as a graduate assistant at the University of Iowa before becoming the head coach at the College of William and Mary. Holtz is recognized most for what he did at the University of Notre Dame, leading the team to 100 wins and a consensus national championship in 11 seasons. In his career, Holtz won 249 games while losing just 132.
"Not only coaches, people in sports and people in life," Trump said. "Even great political people recommended Lou for the Presidential Medal of Freedom. 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."