Former Coach Lou Holtz Awarded Medal of Freedom

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Famed Notre Dame football coach and repeat AB Show keynote presenter Lou Holtz was honored Thursday by president Donald Trump with the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom. 

This Medal of Freedom is the nation’s highest civilian honor, which is awarded by the president to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.

A release published to the White House’s website called Holtz “one of the greatest football coaches of all time for his unmatched accomplishments on the gridiron,” but also noted his work as a “philanthropist, author, and true American patriot.”

After growing up in a small town in West Virginia, Holtz attended Kent State University, becoming the first member of his family to enroll in college. At Kent State, Holtz played football, studied history, and joined the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. For the next seven years, he honorably served as an Officer in the United States Army Reserves.

Related: Lou Holtz Reflects on a Life in Football

Upon graduating from Kent State, Holtz began his historic coaching career as a graduate assistant at the University of Iowa before landing his first head-coaching job at the College of William and Mary, leading the team to the Southern Conference Title and an appearance in the Tangerine Bowl. Over the next 35 years, Holtz led successful college and professional football teams, including North Carolina State, the University of Arkansas, the New York Jets, the University of Minnesota, and the University of South Carolina, compiling an impressive overall record of 249-132-7. Most notably, Holtz earned an outstanding 100-30-2 record in 11 seasons at the University of Notre Dame. His 1988 team earned a perfect 12-0 record and were crowned national champions.

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