Summit Speaker: Lou Holtz
Patrick Novecosky chats with Coach Lou Holtz, a speaker at the 2014 Legatus Summit…
In football circles, Lou Holtz is a living legend. He is the only college football coach to lead six different teams to bowl games and the only coach to guide four different teams to the final top 20 rankings. Since stepping away from the sidelines, he has become an incredibly popular motivational speaker, author and football color commentator. Holtz, 76, is also unabashedly Catholic. Legatus editor Patrick Novecosky talked to him.
Were you always a football fan?
During World War II, when we moved and lived with my mother’s parents, my Uncle Lou played football in high school. I remember them taking us to the games. Then the war ended. My dad and uncles came home; they all loved the game and played it, so it was only natural that I would grow up loving it.
Was your family Catholic?
Very much so. Both sides of my family were Catholic. I went to religious grade school taught by nuns, and attended Mass every week. I thought everybody in the world was Catholic.
You’re one of the winningest coaches in football history. What’s been the sweetest aspect of your success?
People say, “Gee, you’re in the Hall of Fame, they’ve got a statue of you at Notre Dame, you’ve been on TV and are recognized as one of the best speakers in the country.” Well, that’s not me. My greatest accomplishment by far is my family. I take more pride in our family than anything else. All four of our kids are married and have children. They’re all involved in their churches, communities and schools.
When the children were younger, we all went to Mass together on Sunday, then we went out to breakfast. Everyone would guess the amount of the check, and whoever was closest would get a dollar. They still do that with their kids to this day. The truth is you can’t take your money to heaven, but you can take your children.
Who do you call when you need advice?
I talk to my wife because there’s nobody who knows me better. She’s smart, level-headed and very religious. She reads her Bible for an hour-and-a-half every day. I trust her judgment.
How do you connect your faith with your philosophy for success?
I make five assumptions about people. I assume that everybody wants to be successful in their personal life. Two: I assume that everybody wants to be successful in their professional life. No. 3: Everybody wants to feel needed. Four: Everybody wants to feel secure about their future and five: I assume they want to get to heaven.
To reach all five of those, they just follow three rules. No. 1: Do what’s right. If you have any doubt about what’s right, pull out the Bible. Two: Do everything to the best of your ability. No. 3: Show other people that you care because everybody’s got problems.
Those are the only three rules you need. If you follow those three rules, you’ll always make good choices and you’ll reach those five things I assumed.