President Trump announced on Friday, Sept. 4 at the White House that he will present football legend and head coach Lou Holtz with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
According to President Trump’s press conference, many letters arrived at the White House from sports figures recommending Holtz receive the medal. Among the letters received were those from the coach of the University of Alabama football team, Nick Saban, the coach of the Louisiana State University team, Ed Orgeron, and the former Ohio State University coach, Urban Meyer.
President Trump announced that Holtz, whom he called an “incredible leader,” deserves the nation’s highest civilian honor. The announcement came a week after Holtz gave President Trump an enthusiastic endorsement at the Republican National Convention.
“I want to thank another man for being here today. There’s a man that’s an incredible leader: Lou Holtz. I’ve known him for a long time. He’s been a friend of mine.” Trump said in addressing Holtz.
“Not only coaches though—people in sports and people in life and even great political people, recommending Lou for the Presidential Medal of Freedom. And we’ve analyzed it very closely. We’ve looked at all of those recommendations. We’ve looked at Lou’s life and his career and what he’s done for charity. And the football is obvious—he was a great coach—but what he’s done, beyond even coaching.”
President Trump cited Holtz’s sports wins at college games and charitable efforts as key factors in his nomination. The ceremony is expected to take place in “the not-too-distant future,” he added.
He also congratulated Holtz on his excellent wife, who sadly died a few months ago. He noted how special and strong that woman was and in a joking tone President Trump said, “This is an incredible woman. She was stronger, I knew her; I knew her well, she was stronger than Lou. I think she was stronger than you, Lou, I hate to tell you that.”
As reported by Fox News, Holtz, 83, became one of the most decorated coaches in U.S. history in recent years for his achievements over the decades in college football. In addition to receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest honor, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2008.
In recent years, Holtz has become an outspoken supporter of the Trump administration. At the Republican National Convention, he even dedicated some heartfelt words to it, “When a leader tells you something, you’ve got to be able to count on it. That’s President Trump. He says what he means, he means what he says, and he’s done what he said he would do at every single turn.”