WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — President Donald Trump will award former football coach Lou Holtz with the Presidential Medal of Freedom Thursday.
Holtz, who led Notre Dame to a national championship and has campaigned for Trump, will receive what is considered the United States’ highest civilian honor during a White House ceremony.
The medal is awarded by the president to individuals who have made an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the country, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.
Holtz, 83, played football at Kent State but it was in coaching where he left his mark.
During a long career Holtz coached a number of teams both college and professional, including a brief and unsuccessful run with the NFL’s New York Jets.
But in the college ranks Holtz was among the all-time best with his crowning achievement being a perfect season in 1988 leading the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame to a national title.
Holtz retired from coaching in 2004. He was 249-132-7 in 33 seasons at William & Mary, North Carolina State, Arkansas, Minnesota, Notre Dame and South Carolina. He was 3-11 with the New York Jets in the NFL in 1976.
Beyond Holtz’s Hall of Fame career, the White House said his notable achievement was inspiring “generations of young athletes along the way.”
“America recognizes Lou Holtz as one of the greatest football coaches of all time for his unmatched accomplishments on the gridiron, but he is also a philanthropist, author, and true American patriot,” the White House said.