Profile: Lou Holtz

By | October 10, 2015

[October 10, 2015]  Louis Leo “Lou” Holtz is a legendary college football coach, well known throughout America as one of the most successful leaders in collegiate sports.  But his greatest accomplishment is not football … surprised?  According to Lou Holtz, he’s been most successful with his private life; having been married over 50 years with four children and nine grandchildren.  Historically, the best leaders among us value family over all our material accomplishments.

Coach Holtz, who has also been a sports analyst at ESPN television, is best known for his winning record of football at Notre Dame.  He took his teams to nine straight New Year’s Day bowl games from 1987 through 1995; a nearly unheard of accomplishment.1  Success in both his private and public life is why he is being profiled here today as a superb leader.

“I follow three rules: Do the right thing, do the best you can, and always show people you care.” – Lou Holtz

Coach Holtz lived by the idea that winners embrace hard work and they love the discipline of it.  That is what makes the difference in losers and winners.  He applied this idea to his life and was able to do so well, that even now he continues to push himself to higher accomplishments.  Some of his leader traits are:

  • Practices the concepts of discipline, hard work, and dedication
  • Honest and trustworthy
  • Gives credit where’s it due
  • Independence: don’t let other people do something for you that you can do for yourself
  • Dedication: gives 100 percent of himself to his family and to any mission
  • Respects and cares for others
  • Motivates, coaches, and mentors others

We can learn a lot from Coach Holtz by what he said was his biggest mistake.  Once he went to coach for the New York Jets.   By his own admission, he went there without a commitment; “let’s go see what it’s like, we can come back to collegiate athletics” if things don’t work out.2  It didn’t work out because, according to Holtz, he didn’t give it his undivided attention and that was unfair to everybody.

His legacy as football coach will be remembered for many decades to come but it’s his dedication to his family that is really what Coach Holtz is all about.

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  1. http://www.und.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/holtz_lou00.html
  2. http://goodmenproject.com/man-to-man-interviews/man-to-man-with-lou-holtz/

[Note] A good summary of Coach Lou Holtz’s life is summarized at the LeaderNetwork.org where they named him National Leader of the Month for May 2007: http://www.leadernetwork.org/lou_holtz_may_07.htm

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article everyday on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.