Very soon, Lou Holtz will become a legend. He might not think of himself like that, but the years 2008 and 2009 will make sure it happens. There will be two big events honoring the former Notre Dame coach in those years.
Let's look at the year's in reverse. Not only is it chronologically in reverse, but, in order of importance to Holtz it is also in reverse. In 2009, coach Holtz will be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in South bend, Indiana. He will become the sixth former Notre Dame coach to be enshrined. The five others include Jesse Harper, Knute Rockne, Frank Leahy, Ara Parseghian and Dan Devine. Notre Dame also has 42 players in the Hall of Fame. Former defensive standout, Chris Zorich, was the latest enshrined, in 2007.
To Lou Holtz, 2008 will be even bigger than 2009. On September 13, 2008, before the Notre Dame - Michigan game, he will have a statue of himself unveiled. He will join legendary coaches Ara Parseghian and Frank Leahy as those with statues inhabiting, in or around, Notre Dame Stadium.
How does Lou feel about the honor of having a statue? "I am humbled," Holtz said. "I don't know of any greater honor I could ever hope for professionally. To be back with the national championship team and to have a statue put in there with Rockne, Leahy, Parseghian...I am really humbled."
He also has strong feelings about Notre Dame and the people associated with the place. "I could never repay Notre Dame for everything it did for me family," Holtz said. "More importantly, to be able to associate with the people of Notre Dame was a great honor. People like Emil Hoffman, Mike DeCicco, Dean Waddick, Bill Sexton, Colonel Stephens, Moose Krause..."No matter how depressed you might be some days with your job, to walk out of a place knowing you're associated with people like that makes you feel good."
Holtz, who won 249 games, overall, was 100-30 at Notre Dame. Under Holtz, the Fighting Irish won the National Championship in 1988. Many feel Notre Dame also won it in 1993. After all, they beat the team (Florida State) who won it.
Ever so humble, Holtz downplayed himself as far as his success at Notre Dame. "But to be honored like this is a tribute to our athletes and to people like Gene Corrigan, Dick Rosenthal, Father (William) Beauchamp...I happened to be there at a great time when we played a great schedule. But we also had fun."I'm not a complicated individual. My whole life is based on being able to trust each other, being committed to excellence, knowing that you care about one another, and trying to do things to the best of my ability."
Coach Holtz, like it or not, you are a legend. September 13, 2008, when your 1988 National Championship team is honored, the statue erected will clinch it.