AFB, Fla. (June 21, 2016) – Former University of Notre Dame
and University of South Carolina head coach Lou Holtz spoke to service members
and government civilians at U.S. Central Command headquarters yesterday.
In addition to his distinguished
coaching career, Holtz, 79, is well known for his motivational speeches based
on three pillars: do what’s right, do everything you can to the best of your
ability and show people you care.
Holtz has great admiration and respect
for the troops and volunteered to visit CENTCOM to share his experiences and
lessons learned. He believes the
challenges he faced as a football coach can translate to any career, including
the military. Holtz trained under the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps
(ROTC) while attending Kent State University, earning a commission as a field
artillery officer upon graduation.
“I am a big believer in accountability and
responsibility, and I learned that from my time in the military,” Holtz said.
“There is never a wrong time to do the right thing, just like there is no right
time to do the wrong thing.”
During his talk with the troops, and in
between nodding heads and spurts of raucous laughter from the audience, Holtz
delivered an assortment of humorous, but true words of wisdom and stories of problems
he faced that went well (or didn’t). All the while, the retired coach
maintained the importance of teamwork, goals and caring for others.
“You’ve got to make a sincere attempt to
have the right goals to begin with, and then go after them with appropriate
effort,” Holtz said. “And remember that you can’t really achieve anything great
without the help of others.”
Holtz then expanded on the importance of
teamwork in the military environment.
“Our country has never faced greater
challenges than we have right now,” said Holtz. “We need that teamwork, and we
need to work together for that common cause. You can’t be at your best without
Holtz met with CENTCOM commander U.S.
Army Gen. Joseph L. Votel just before the speaking engagement.
Votel briefed the retired coach on daily
life at the headquarters and what his goals are for the CENTCOM Area of
Responsibility. The two spoke also spoke about family, football and life in
the speech, Holtz spent time to take a picture with any service member who
wanted one, provided his contact information, and offered to autograph any
photograph taken that day.