Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Holtz says he returned to coaching to help others

By Tom Coyne
The Associated Press

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Lou Holtz didn't return to coaching after leaving Notre Dame to prove anything. He took the job at South Carolina because he still wanted to help others.

"What I have learned is the most important thing in this world is to be important to someone else," Holtz told a crowd of about 740 people Monday at a fund-raising luncheon for the Logan Center, a South Bend organization that helps people with disabilities.

Holtz, who is entering his 32nd year as head coach with 238 career victories, entertained the crowd with a 30-minute speech, stories about a winless South Carolina team his first season "that wasn't really as good as its record" and about his coaching days at Notre Dame. But most of his talk centered on the need to help others.

Holtz said the real heroes in society aren't people who are successful. They are people who help others when they are down.

"The real heroes are people who are instrumental. If you are successful, you live a successful life and it ends when you die," he said. "If you are instrumental, you help other people lead a better life."

Holtz said he has tried to instill the same "core values" at South Carolina that existed at Notre Dame during his 11 years coaching there.

"What makes Notre Dame special is the same thing that makes any organization special, and that is core values," he said.

The three essential core values are trust, a commitment to excellence and caring for others, Holtz said.

Holtz, who led the Fighting Irish to a national championship in 1988, also talked about how society has changed over the years.

"Today everybody talks about their rights and their privileges - 25 years ago people talked about their obligations and responsibilities," he said.

It is time for people to begin thinking again more about helping others than what they are entitled to, he said.

"We can solve anything if enough people care," said Holtz, who is entering his fifth season at South Carolina.

The luncheon was part of fund-raising effort that helped the Logan Center raise $88,000 for construction of a new facility, a spokeswoman said.

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