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Head Football Coach Lou Holtz

Notre Dame Tenure

Lou Holtz points for his 26th season as a head coach at the collegiate level, the University of Notre Dame's football boss finds himself on the verge of establishing himself as one of the most successful college football coaches of all time.

Heading into the 1995 season, he needs only a single victory to reach the coveted 200 mark, something accomplished by only 14 head coaches in the history of college football-and by only five other coaches currently active in the game.

When Holtz took over as Notre Dame's 27th head football coach back in November of 1985, he brought with him a well-proven reputation as a fixer of football programs following a series of spectacular repair jobs at William & Mary, North Carolina State, Arkansas and Minnesota. He enhanced that track record quickly, needing only two years to put the Fighting Irish back into a major post-season bowl game for the first time in seven seasons.

Holtz proved he could take the Irish back to the ranks of college football's elite and keep them there on a consistent basis. Once he took Notre Dame to the 1988 title, he has kept the Irish near that goal nearly every year, with his teams finishing sixth or better in the final AP poll in five of the last seven seasons.

He also has developed a well-earned reputation as an expert when it comes to knocking off highly-ranked opponents. That ability has been particularly well displayed in bowl games, with his teams recording wins on January 1 in five of the last seven seasons against teams with a combined record of 64-3, all of them ranked seventh or higher in the Associated Press poll.

It took Holtz only one year to be competitive-with the Irish losing five games in '86 by a grand total of 14 points, against what the NCAA rated the third most difficult schedule in the nation.

It took two years to earn a major bowl invitation, as the Irish played in the Cotton Bowl following the '87 season.

It took only three years to produce a national championship in '88.