President Donald Trump announced on Friday that former University of Notre Dame head coach Lou Holtz would receive one of the highest honors given to a civilian. He will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. This news follows the Republican National Convention, where Holtz spoke and called for a second term.
"Incredible leader, Lou Holtz. I've known him for a long time, he's been a friend of mine," Trump said on Friday. "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.
"Not only coaches, people in sports and people in life," Trump continued. "Even great political people recommending 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."
Since taking office in 2016, Trump has given the Presidential Medal of Freedom to multiple figures in the sports world. The list includes Roger Staubach, Tiger Woods, Bob Cousy, Jerry West, Mariano Rivera, Roger Penske and Jim Ryun. Holtz is the latest to join this group after a coaching career in which he won a national championship and led Notre Dame to a 100-30-2 overall record.
Holtz previously drew attention with his comments during the RNC. He called out Democratic Nominee Joe Biden for being a "Catholic in name only." He also said that the Biden-Kamala Harris ticket is "the most radically pro-abortion campaign in history. They ... abandon innocent lives."
Following the comment about Biden's faith, the University of Notre Dame distanced itself from Holtz while others made critical comments. James Martin, a Jesuit priest, told MSNBC that Holtz "cannot look into the soul of Joe Biden. I think it's a really terrible thing to say about someone. He has no clue what's going on inside of Joe Biden's heart."
President Trump made similar comments about his November opponent. He said that Biden is "against the Bible" and that he would "hurt God" if elected. Biden later responded with a statement to Politico. The presidential hopeful said that his faith had been the "bedrock foundation" of his life. "It's provided me comfort in moments of loss and tragedy, it's kept me grounded and humbled in times of triumph and joy."