Life Lessons From Lou Holtz

I’m not an avid sports enthusiast glued to ESPN.

I’m married to one, however. Walking through the room while John is watching a plethora of sports shows I’m bound to ff8catch something. Osmosis works.

So when a friend sent us a link to watch Lou Holtz as the commencement speaker at Franciscan University at Steubenville, I knew I’d heard the name before.

He’s an ESPN commentator

Watching the video made me understand he was also a really great coach at Notre Dame.

Minor detail.

He was addressing this graduating class of twenty somethings, speaking images-3from a place of experience and learned wisdom. His comment: “I’ve been 21, but none of you have been 78.” Street creds.

He spoke to a common experience. As we enter June, it’s a time of finishing up for many. School’s coming to an end. Teachers are exulting in a few months of peace. Students are rejoicing in a lack of routine. And homework. And many are graduating, from high school, college and other institutions of learning. With next steps hovering like a mirage in front of their faces. What’s next?

The group I work with is in the same boat–moving on to next steps. New places and faces. New routines to establish.

Much of what Lou said to these graduates fits all of us–in transition or just in living day to day.

He kept it simple.

When you’re 78 and successful, you don’t have to make excuses for who you are and what you believe. People view you as someone who knows what they’re talking about. When Lou began speaking of his background, he began by emphasizing first that he had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Second, he claimed to have been born with a silver spoon in his mouth.

Which led to assumptions far different from the truth.

Humble beginnings. Rather poor. Taught from an early age to be grateful for opportunities and to choose to make the most of life. He was taught to be responsible for his choices, to make them with intent to fulfill them well.

Great words from a man who’s lived enough to experience their truth. Living in a culture prone to entitlement, I wonder how we’ve moved so far from the need, the dignity, of personal responsibility.

He went on to list three ways to make the most of life.

1. Do what’s right and avoid what’s wrong. Simple, right? And yet it’s not just the choosing that’s tough. It’s knowing the standard. He made it easy–any questions, look at the Bible.

2. Do everything to the best of your ability with the time allotted. No excuses. Often what I do affects others and what they do. I need to own that when I give my word to do something, I’ll do it the best I can.

3. Show people you care. True significance is helping others succeed. Not garnering accolades for myself.

How could he say any of this? He went back to his relationship with Jesus.

Character counts. Who we are is more than what we do. It’s the person that shows up day in and day out. Whether you’re a coach for a major university or a stay-at-home mom, who we are when we’re seen–and not seen–is important.

Still not a sports fanatic, but I’m a new Lou fan.

What counts in your life?

Both photos courtesy of








2 responses to “Life Lessons From Lou Holtz”

  1. I’m still not a sports fanatic either Dayle, but I’m married to one also. I’ll take your word on Lou [haven’t heard about him] and will try to make his 3 ways to make the most of life mine, as well. Character building! Looking to JESUS! Wisdom and Blessings!


    1. And once again, you brighten my heart with your kindness. This is why I keep you close to my heart, my friend.


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