Lou Holtz received a very high honor from President Donald Trump on Thursday. The former Notre Dame football coach was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom during a White House ceremony. And while accepting the award, Holtz made a big statement about Trump.
"I want to assure you how proud I am not only to receive the award," Holtz said, "but I'm even prouder to receive it from President Donald Trump, who I think was the greatest president during my lifetime." The Medal of Freedom is the highest civilian honor the President can award. Trump announced in September he was going to give the award to Holtz, calling him an "incredible leader."
"I 've known him for a long time, he's been a friend of mine," Trump said. "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."
Before the ceremony, Holtz talked to Fox News about his thoughts on receiving the Medal of Freedom. "It's the highest honor or award you could possibly receive and I receive it with mixed emotions," Holtz said to Fox News as reported by USA Today. "First of all, I’m humbled. There are many more people far worthy than me I can assure you. Nobody is more appreciative than me."
Holtz, 83, is one of the best coaches in college football history. He started his coaching career in 1960 as an assistant at Iowa before becoming a head coach at William & Mary in 1969. He spent three seasons at William & Mary and led the team to a Southern Conference title in 1970. He became the head coach at NC State in 1972 and won 33 games in four seasons with the Wolfpack. In 1977, Holtz was hired as the head coach of Arkansas and won 60 games in seven seasons. He then spent two seasons at Minnesota before landing the head coaching job at Norte Dame in 1986.
During his time with the Fighting Irish, Holtz led the team to five 10-win seasons, five bowl wins and a national championship in 1988. Holtz became the head coach of South Carolina in 1999 and spent six seasons with the Gamecocks. In his career, Holtz posted a 249-132-7 record.