Former William and Mary head coach Lou Holtz will be enshrined in the National Football Foundation’s College Football Hall of Fame this weekend, honoring a thirty-six-year career in which he lead six different college programs to bowl appearances.
The weekend-long enshrinement ceremonies culminate Saturday evening (July 18) with a dinner and show held at Century Center Convention Center in South Bend, Ind.
Holtz began his coaching career at the College of William and Mary after taking over from Professional Football Hall of Fame coach Marv Levy in June of 1969. The job was Holtz' second stint at the College, as he previously had worked from 1961 to 1963 as an assistant coach under then head coach Milt Drewer.
With his enshrinement this weekend, Holtz will become the fourth honoree from the College of William and Mary, joining past Tribe greats such as "Flying" Jack Cloud (Class of 1990), Buster Ramsey (Class of 1978) and former head coach Bill Ingram (Class of 1973). The Tribe's four honorees in the College Football Hall of Fame now rank as the most among Colonial Athletic Association programs.
Holtz compiled a 13-20 record at the College from 1969 to 1971, taking the Tribe to the Tangerine Bowl in 1970, in only his second year at the helm. Holtz also led the Tribe to its fifth Southern Conference Championship that season, only its second conference championship since 1947.
Eleven players made the All-Southern Conference team under Holtz reign, including Jacobs Blocking Trophy Award Winners Bob Herb '71 and Jackson Neal '72. Holtz also helped fullback Phil Mosser '72 win Southern Conference Player of the Year in 1970 and Southern Conference Athlete of the Year in 1971 and oversaw his being named a second-team All American in 1970.
In many ways, the 1970 season represented Holtz' crowning achievement during his time at the College, as he guided a team that finished 3-7 the year before to a 5-7 record and a bowl appearance. The Tribe was 4-6 entering the last game of the season but racked up a then-record 520 yards of offense versus Richmond to capture the conference title and help earn an invitation to the Tangerine Bowl, where they would eventually fall to 12th ranked University of Toledo.
"To be frank, I didn't think that [appearance in a bowl] would be possible after seeing the way we lost to The Citadel [16-7 in Williamsburg]," Holtz said at the time. But a series of close finishes, including a 29-28 victory over Davidson and the 34-33 victory over Richmond in front of 12,000 fans in the season finale, helped earn the Tribe their bowl birth.
In 1971, Holtz led the Tribe to a 5-6 record, including a pair of close losses against ACC teams, 36-35 versus the University of North Carolina and 36-29 against Wake Forest University. The most memorable ‘almost’ victory of the season came against West Virginia University, where after a 28-23 loss at home, the student section stayed and gave the Tribe a prolonged standing ovation.
Holtz' first year at the College was a whirlwind of activity, as Holtz took over the team well into the summer (June). Despite the Tribe's 3-7 record, the season was notable for the presence of Warren Winston, the first African-American football player at the College, who played all three years under Holtz.
After leaving William and Mary, Holtz went on to coach at North Carolina State, the University of Arkansas and the University of Minnesota before taking over the Notre Dame football program. Holtz went onto win the National Title for the Fighting Irish after the 1988 season, the storied program’s last championship.
"If it hadn't been for William and Mary, I wouldn't be at Notre Dame today," Holtz said in a 1989 interview. Today, Holtz works as an analyst on ESPN.
Holtz will be enshrined with a class that includes players Troy Aikman (UCLA); Roger Brown (Maryland-Eastern Shore); Billy Cannon (Louisiana State); Fred Dean (Louisiana Tech); Jim Dombrowski (Virginia); Pat Fitzgerald (Northwestern); Wilber Marshall (Florida); Rueben Mayes (Washington State); Randall McDaniel (Arizona State); Don McPherson (Syracuse); Sam Mills* (Montclair State, N.J.); Jay Novacek (Wyoming); Dave Parks (Texas Tech); Ron Simmons (Florida State); Rod Smith (Missouri Southern State); Thurman Thomas (Oklahoma State); Arnold Tucker (Army); and coaches Volney Ashford* (Missouri Valley); John Cooper (Tulsa, Arizona State, Ohio State); Jim Donnan (Marshall, Georgia). [*Deceased & represented by a family member.]
Enshrinement Show will be streamed live on ESPN360.com, ESPN’s 24/7 live broadband sports network, on Saturday, July 18 from 8:30 - 10:15 p.m. ET, making the event available to fans nationwide on the Internet. It will also be available live for the first time ever on television on CBS College Sports Network.
CBS College Sports Network is available through local cable operators and nationally via satellite on DIRECTV Channel 613 and Dish Network Channel 152. Please visit http://www.collegefootball.org/enshrinement for more information on the 2009 Enshrinement Festival.