ORLANDO, Fla. – Lou Holtz is famous for his incredible college coaching career, which included leading six different programs to bowl games, helping the Fighting Irish secure 100 wins, and then embarking on an enviable career as a sports analyst.
When you get into a room with him, he is as humble, funny and sincere as they come.
Austin asked, “I’m fascinated, coach, to ask you where you think college football is headed, because as a fan it’s been frustrating to see these teams — it seems like the players I root for one year are gone the next year, money is playing a big role, what are your thoughts on how college football is going?”
“I think an athlete should be paid if he works at McDonald’s, but not to go to college. Not to go to college. You go to college to get an education. It’s a 40-year decision, not four. You pick out the school you want to be part of the rest of your life, and you go do that, and to get paid for that is setting the wrong perspective,” Holtz said.
He said he made $95,000 a year at Notre Dame, but feels the approach to coaching and playing has changed since he was on the field.
“I think that coaches followed the money, then the players are following the money, now the schools are following the money,” Holtz said. “Florida State is talking about leaving the ACC, because the SEC just got $51 million per team.”
When it comes to the transfer portal, Holtz called it the “worst thing that’s ever happened.”
“There is nothing wrong with being patient and proven, waiting your turn, and being ready when you get that opportunity,” he said.
According to Holtz, hopping from college to college is not what football is all about, and that it is causing fans — including himself — to turn away from the sport.
“I’m starting to lose interest in it because I can’t tell who plays for who,” Holtz said.
However, he said he remains optimistic something will be done to slow athletes from jumping from team to team so often.
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When he talks about his time as a coach, you can tell Holtz is still passionate about making an impact. He said that if given the opportunity today, “I would like to coach anywhere that I could do it physically.”
And if he was at the helm again, he wouldn’t be taking it easy.
Holtz told News 6 Insiders, “The biggest mistake that leaders make and parents make… they lower the standards for their children to try to keep them happy. What you do is raise the standard then teach them how to reach that standard.”
He said part of that is focusing on the details.
“You win because you do the little things the right way. Everybody does big things, winners do the little things. The shoe was lost, the horse was lost, because the horse was lost, the rider was lost, because the rider was lost, the message was lost, because the message was lost the battle was lost, because the battle was lost the war was lost, because of the little thing,” Holtz said.
As for the coaches coming after him, he freely shared what helped him to be a success. Holtz said when he accepted the head coaching job at Notre Dame he was told leadership involved having a vision for where you want the organization to go, leading by example, and holding people accountable for the choices they make.
He said throughout his life he chose to prioritize his faith, his family, and then football.
“I don’t care what you achieve in this world, I don’t care how much money you make, if you aren’t successful as a husband and a father, you failed,” he said.
Learn more about legendary football coach Lou Holtz, his journey to become one of the best college football coaches in history, and why he decided to call Central Florida home by checking out Florida’s Fourth Estate. You can download the podcast from wherever you listen to podcasts or watch anytime on the News 6+ app for your smart TV.
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