Lou Holtz Q&A (cont.)
I just think that you have two phases of football at Notre Dame. One is the performance of the players on the field. The last couple years, that's been a little bit disappointing, but they've had that before. The other thing you have to look at is the experience the football players are having at Notre Dame. One thing that Notre Dame does that nobody else does is they have a senior exit with all the players. When the players leave, they sit down with the athletic director for an hour and a half. And they're asked questions, and if you get a lot of negative feedback, that tells you, when you look at your performance on the field, the decisions you have to make.
TH: You're of the mindset that retaining Charlie Weis was the right move for Notre Dame. What would it take for you to change your mind and say, "You know what, it might be time to move on to another coach"?
LH: I just believe that, when in doubt, you do nothing. They showed progress this year, they're a young football team. Their schedule's even a little bit easier next year on paper. They should be better. If we're gonna err, let's err on the side of patience.
TH: You had great success as a college coach and amassed the eighth-most wins of any coach in Division 1-A history. But coaching, to you, was about more than just wins and losses -- it was a responsibility to instill values in student athletes. Talk about your focus as a head coach of a major college football program.
LH: I felt my job at Notre Dame or any other school was to prepare [my players] for life. To teach them how to win, to make sure they got an education, and to make sure they cared about other people and that they showed their love for other people and were involved in community projects. When I was at South Carolina, we got the whole team involved in picking up trash and trying to beautify the state.
I think we lose sight. Everybody wants to talk about "who's national champion." And when somebody does something bad or negative, that's what everybody wants to talk about. And that's what you read about. But there are so many good young men that do so many marvelous things for other people that we don't read about, we don't hear about. I think we lose sight of what college football should be about. It's not just about winning championships. Yes, that's important. But it's also about being productive citizens and if you are going to help other people at a younger age, you're going to continue to do that the rest of your life. And I hope it'll serve as an inspiration to other people who say, "I wanna be part of [something like] the Allstate Good Works Team, I think that's a greater honor, down the road, than maybe being All-America."
TH: You mention the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team. You're currently serving as the team's spokesperson. Why align yourself with Allstate? Talk about your involvment.
LH: Allstate, which has had a marvelous relationship over the years with college football said, "Hey, we wanna recognize people who've really done some very heroic things."
I just believe that, being involved in athletics and coaching, when an athlete came to our school, the very very minimum he should expect was the best leadership and the best coaching in the country. And not just on the football field. But teaching him how to succeed in life as well. I always felt if people can trust you and if they know you're committed to excellence, you know they care about other people, that good things are gonna happen to you in your personal life, your professional life and your social life. That's what Allstate's trying to do. They're trying to make sure that there's an awful lot of good things being done, and let's focus on that.
I'm involved with it because I believe in it. Allstate's been a true friend of college football for many, many years. And I think college football's the greatest sport in the world. I was up at the Hall of Fame a couple of days ago where I was fortunate enough to be inducted. And I said at that time, this is the greatest game because it teaches about life, it teaches about unselfishness, it teaches you about teamwork. And I think that this team of Allstate Good Works people is what life's all about.
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