Philosophies on Himself
- Who Am I?:
"I don't think anybody knows who I am. I don't know if I do. There are two different ones. There's the Lou Holtz occupying this (coach's) desk and there's a husband and a father."
"The only superstition I have is using a new manilla folder every day for practice to make notes about what we need to do."
- His Demeanor:
"What people don't know about me is that I'm a shy person. I'm a private person in a lot of respects, but because of the nature of the coaching profession, you're exposed. A lot is written about you and your life's an open book. Everything, good or bad, is magnified. But I enjoy being by myself and being private."
- Happiest Time:
"Probably the happiest I've ever been was when I was an assistant coach at William & Mary. I didn't make as much money, had more time with my family and we even belonged to a bridge group. I enjoy the relationship with the players and assistant coaches and I enjoy coaching every bit as much today as I did then. I think I was more anxious to climb the mountain when I was younger and tried to run up to the top. Well, at the top, you can't run anymore. You've got to keep plodding and try to make it a great experience."
- Something to Prove:
"I think it comes from being small of frame, being a poor athlete and it comes from being a poor student in high school. I think it comes from insecurity. I didn't come from a broken home, but my father was in the service and at those formative years you're dealing with loved ones who may not come back. We lived with my grandmother, my dad was in the service, all my uncles were in the service and there was just the uncertainty of it all. Plus, with my size and intelligence, I think you want to prove something. I don't feel that way anymore. I don't feel I have anything to prove. Maybe that's maturity."
"I get inspired by things that happen every day. In one week, I had over 15 requests to call people who were sick or who were dying, had a stroke or adversity of some sort. You call those people and talk to them and you see how well they've reacted to tremendous adversity. I put up the phone and say ' I hope I have as much courage as these people have.' Then, you realize that there are not any special people, there are just special ways to react to different situations."
- Learning to Laugh:
"I was dull as a kid. I wasn't very big, and I was kind of shy and withdrawn. But I think my sense of humor came partly from my uncle, Lou Tychonievich-who also had a great sense of humor-and partly because I was the middle child in the family. The oldest child has the responsibility and the youngest gets all the attention because it's the baby. I had to develop a sense of humor to get any attention."
- Overcoming Adversity:
"Show me anyone who is successful, and I'll show you someone who has overcome adversity. In 1966 I went to South Carolina as an assistant coach. My wife was eight months pregnant with our third child and we spent every cent we had as a down payment on a home. I was there one month before Marvin Bass resigned to go to the Canadian League. Paul Dietzel became the new head coach, but he kept only a couple of coaches off the previous staff. In my interview, he said, 'I'm going to do you a favor. I think you're in the wrong profession. We don't have a place for you. But we can put you in the P.E. department until the year is over.' I'm going to tell you, I was really downhearted and disappointed. But he called me in about a week later and told me, ‘If you'll take a $4,000 salary cut, from $11,000 to $7,000, you can handle the academics and the scout squad,' which is what I did. Two years later I was at Ohio State with a team that won the national championship and a year after that I became head coach at William & Mary. It wasn't easy to hang in there back then, but I owe an awful lot to Paul Dietzel and to South Carolina."
- His Intensity:
"I have the unique ability to give undivided attention to what I'm doing. If I'm making a speech, there's nothing else on my mind but making that speech. When that is over, I look at what I have to do next. When I go to the football field, I am totally focused. If I'm going to play golf, I'm not going to be on the golf course and worry about doing this or doing that. Intensity sometimes is not the fact that I'm so fierce inside, but that I give my undivided attention to what I'm doing. I'm intense. I think if you are going to do something, you ought to try and do it as well as you can. I also think there are times when my mind isn't on anything and I'm very loose, very relaxed. But I don't get as many of those moments to cherish as I used to. I'm not a social person and I'm not a politician. Some people probably think I'm aloof or different, that I'm a loner. And I am, to a certain extent. I like to read, but not long, maybe 20 minutes at a time, which causes my mind to start thinking. Golf and reading, those would probably be the two biggest ways I relax."
- His Year in New York:
"My year in professional football with the New York Jets taught me about commitment. It was a tremendous opportunity, but I didn't really understand the intricacies of it and I probably wasn't adequately prepared for it. I didn't go there with a commitment-I went to work every day thinking, 'Well, if this doesn't work out, I can always go back to college football.' I wasn't happy and I wasn't helping. There wasn't anything wrong with the New York Jets or professional football. It was Lou Holtz. I didn't do a very good job and I'm not happy to stand up and tell people that-but that's the way it is."
"I don't take losses very well-I admit that. I really and truly don't. I have a simple philosophy and I think it's very sound-if something goes wrong, I think you have to look at yourself. Don't look at the athletes, the administrators, the officials or anyone else. By the time you get done looking at yourself, then you don't have time to point fingers at anyone. Losing is like a nightmare to me, but that's life. You have to go on. Some things only time will heal."
- His Epitaph:
"I didn't come here with the ambition of being put on a pedestal with people like Rockne and Leahy and Parseghian and Devine. In the end, I'd just like people to say I was the luckiest coach who ever won three national championships."