If you would have told me ten years ago when I started my tiny little blog, that I’m pretty sure only my dad and a handful of friends actually read, that I would have two published books each with forwards written by legendary Notre Dame Fighting Irish football coach Lou Holtz and a third book on the way ... I would have told you, ‘you’re nuts.’ As a person who has loved Coach Holtz ever since the first time I met him at a ‘meet & greet’ in the common lounge of Siegfried Hall, I still have to pinch myself every time I see him at an event or have the chance to speak with him. In fact, after having heard him speak so many times when I was a student at Notre Dame, from pep rallies to other various events on campus, we quoted him pretty much every day.
What was our favorite Coach Holtz quip? I don’t know, I’m not sure I could pick just one. I do know, however, not only did we quote him in college, I still use his stories and sayings not only with my children, but in situations at work as well. So when I saw that he is going to be a guest on one of my favorite shows, Joe Buck’s ‘Undeniable,’ well let’s just say the DVR is already set.
I had the opportunity to get a sneak peek of the show, and I’d love to share with you a little bit of what he will discuss on the show which airs on AT&T AUDIENCE Network this coming Tuesday (6/12) at 8pm ET/PT. If you’ve never watched the show before, you should definitely check it out. Some of Joe Buck’s past guests have included David Robinson, Ozzie Smith, Terry Bradshaw, and Wayne Gretzky. On this week’s show, Coach Holtz will discuss his upbringing, what it was like to be the head football coach at the University of Notre Dame, and the responsibilities that come with being a leader. Here are a few snippets from the show:
“I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth. I really was. I was born during the depression. My dad had a third grade education. We had one bedroom for my sister, myself and my parents. We had a kitchen. We had a half bath that did not have a tub, a shower or a sink. There was no welfare, no food stamps, no safety net. The reason why I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth was because I was born in this country. And I was taught that if I made good choices, (no matter what happened in my life) if I got an education, worked hard, didn’t blame other people, I could have very positive things happen to me. I was not unwanted, I was not unexpected, I was not unloved. It isn’t what you have, it’s what you are taught about the values of life.”
“Once you win a national championship, everybody has you on a pedestal. And then the only story is how you’re not perfect. When we finished second in the country, everybody called me an idiot. ‘That idiot finished second.’ When a guy finishes last in medical school they call him doctor. That doesn’t seem fair. But that’s life. The expectations at Notre Dame were always so difficult. When I went there they said, ‘coach, we just want to be competitive.’ The first year we lost five games by a total of 14 points, which I thought was competitive, and the alums said, ‘no you don’t understand, competitive to us means to win not just come close. The second year we win and go to the cotton bowl and they said, ‘we don’t just want you to win, we want you to win them all.’ The third year we win them all and they said, ‘no we meant by a big score.’”
“If you’re in a leadership role, your obligation is to make people the very best that they can possibly be. Not everyone can be All-American, not everyone can be first team. Everyone can be the very best they are capable of being. Your job in a leadership role is not to be their friend. If you want a friend, like Woody Hayes used to say, go buy a dog. The most important thing that you have to get across to them is, when you join a team, you have obligations and you have responsibilities. If you want to fail, you have the right to fail, but you do not have the right to cause other people to fail because you don’t fulfill your obligation. That was the one thing I learned and have carried with me to this day. You don’t have the right to cause other people to fail.”
“People ask me, ‘what’s the difference between athletes today and 40 years ago.’ Today everybody wants to talk about their rights and their privileges. 40 years ago we talked about our obligations and our responsibilities. And I believe we still need to get back to the obligations and the responsibility you have to other people. It’s simple.”
And that’s the essence of Coach Holtz. Every time I hear him speak, I hear a new gem that I hadn’t heard before. And they are always practical things that you can put to use in your every day life. Do you want to be a better person? Follow coach’s simple rules and you can’t go wrong.
Check it out!
Want to hear more of Joe Buck’s conversation with Coach Holtz? Tune into the AT&T AUDIENCE Network this coming Tuesday (6/12) at 8pm ET/PT.
Cheers & GO IRISH!
p.s. Want a one-of-a-kind Lou’s Lads - Bread of Life T-Shirt? Check out my post from earlier this week!