Thursday, July 28, 2005

Lou Holtz is Done

It's not often that a program loses a head coaching legend and then gains another. However, that is exact situation that occurred at the University of South Carolina this past winter. After a 6-5 season that did not end with a bowl game after a fight between Clemson and South Carolina players, Holtz rode off into the sunset once again as he did after the 1996 season when he left Notre Dame. Gamecock Nation was excited about the future under Spurrier, Holtz was getting his own show on the ESPN networks and everyone seemed happy. Then at the beginning of July, the University of South Carolina admitted to 10 NCAA violations including five classified as "major". While this would be troubling news for any school, it is even more troubling for the Gamecocks and Holtz himsef. This if the FOURTH program that Holtz has left amid controversy or to have it turn up later. After stints with William and Mary, N.C. State and the New York Jets, Holtz became the head coach at Arkansas in 1977. After seven seasons in Fayetteville, Holtz departed for Minnesota amid controversial goings-on within the program. After just two seasons at Minnesota, Holtz left for Notre Dame amid a scandal involving steroids and other hainous activity. Holtz went on to spend 11 seasons at Notre Dame and produced five 10+ wins seasons. Holtz then "retired" following the 1996 season and controversy soon followed. The best account of his actions are published in the book "Under the Tarnished Dome" from Donald Looney and Don Yaeger. After a brief two year retirement, Holtz took over at South Carolina and quickly turned the program around, going from 0-11 in 1999 to 8-4 and 9-3 in 2000 and 2001, winning back-to-back Outback Bowls against Ohio State. In 2002, the NCAA began investigating South Carolina and Holtz was enraged, claiming that he though the NCAA believed that South Carolina couldn't win without cheating. Now we all know that it was just another Lou Holtz cover up.

My personal opinion of Lou Holtz has never been a good one. Now after these revelations, it has become even less. I can't wait to see his new show and if he is able to dodge questions about the South Carolina program and these violations, or his trouble at Arkansas, Minnesota and Notre Dame for that matter. Any program willing to hire Holtz after now leaving behind a legacy of controvery at FOUR universities aught to get the NCAA's "death penalty" on the spot. He is a crooked old coot who brings wins to the program and then leaves when the going begins to get rough. It is not yet clear what sanctions Spurrier and South Carolina will face because of Holtz's actions. I feel sorry for the Gamecock faithful who fill Williams-Brice Stadium every game and now find out that two of their greatest seasons are tainted. Spurrier will succeed at South Carolina, but the controversy left behind by Holtz will never be forgotten. The man doesn't deserve another chance. Only a fool would allow him to have one.


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