Lou Holtz

When I met Kate in 1993 I was a die-hard Penn State football fan. Blue and White. Joe Paterno. Nittany Lions. All the way. Well, once we got serious that was all going to change. Her family, you see, were slightly fanatical Notre Dame football fans. Honestly, it was pretty scary the first time I was over her grandmother’s house during a big game. Well, over the last 12+ years they have converted me over to their side. The leader of the Irish back then was coach Lou Holtz. He was an icon. He was near-worshipped for his brilliant coaching tactics and loved for his endearing nature. He left the Notre Dame sideline in ’96 to a slower pace coaching in South Carolina.

Wins, Losses and LessonsHe is now officially retired from coaching football and has written his autobiography, entitled: Wins, Losses, and Lessons: An Autobiography. Along with a fancy new book comes a fancy book-signing tour. I caught wind at work that Lou would be signing copies of his book not too far from work on Tuesday night, so I let Kate know and we met in line after I got off work.

There he was, the great Lou Holtz, smile from ear to ear, wearing a gold ESPN polo shirt and signature eye-glasses. It seemed otherworldly to me to not see him at least wearing a ND hat (like on his book cover).

Coach was great. We talked and talked for hours… I laughed at his jokes, he laughed at mine, we swapped stories…. ok, none of that happened. We just waited in line for 2 hours (1 hour outside and 1 hour inside) and then got ushered through the line, past Lou for a handshake, quick photo and a signature and then *poof* we were back outside. It was still worth the time to meet one of the legends of college football and easily one of the greatest coaches of the 20th century.

I’ll leave you with a few of Lou’s quotes that we are enjoying from his book:

When I die and people realize that I will not be resurrected in three days, they will forget me. That is the way it should be. For reasons known only to God, I was asked to write an autobiography. Most people who knew me growing up didn’t think I would ever read a book, let alone write one.

Coaching gives one a chance to be successful as well as significant. The difference between those two is that when you die, your success comes to an end. When you are significant, you continue to help others be successful long after you are gone. Significance lasts many lifetimes. That is why people teach, why people lead, and why people coach. As I leave the field of play, I enjoy the feeling of being a winning coach. But more important, I hope that I have been a person of significance in the lives of these young men.