Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Will Irish Eyes Wink or Weep over Holtz?

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Will Irish Eyes Wink or Weep over Holtz?

Article excerpt

Lou Holtz used to be amusing.

He was an energetic, bespectacled little man with lots of droll patter delivered in rat-a-tat-tat monologues. Johnny Carson loved the guy. America loved the guy. Corporations offered him princely sums to give motivational chats.

Holtz was larger than life.

He pushed Notre Dame football back toward the top of the college heap and had the old Irish mystique going full bore. The program - doing it well and doing it right - was led by a likable leprechaun.

But it turns out that Holtz isn't always so humorous and wasn't always such a saint. In reality, he is just another frazzled coach who let the pressure of his job get the better of him. Stress is such a terrible thing.

We saw that when Holtz snapped and put an official in a headlock while trying to re-enact an uncalled transgression. Where did he think he was coaching? Miami?

A recent article in Sports Illustrated describes how Holtz lashed out at kicking prospect Scott Bentley after he chose Florida State, even though his father had gone to Notre Dame.

The magazine quoted Holtz as saying, "Son, you didn't just make a four-year mistake. You made a 40-year mistake. You let me down, and you let your father down."


The Rocky Mountain News reports that Bob Bentley still is furious about the call to his son. "It made me cry; it made Scott cry," he said. "I'm not going to forgive him. Scott has to live with that the rest of his life. For him to say Scott let me down because of my closeness to Notre Dame is a despicable tactic."

Now a new book, "Under The Tarnished Dome: How Notre Dame Betrayed Its Ideals For Football Glory," outlines all manner of player abuse at Notre Dame and suggests Holtz condoned widespread steroids use.

Ex-players complain that Holtz belittled them and forgot them when injuries shortened their career. Former Irish offensive lineman Chet Lacheta claimed Holtz spit at him during one dressing down; two witnesses verified the story.

Personal aside: If I had a son playing big-time football and some coach spit on him, my kid would be fully authorized to flush the jerk. Why should he play for a punk? …

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