Trump said the White House received letters of recommendation from several prominent figures across sports and politics, including University of Alabama head coach Nick Saban, Louisiana State University head coach Ed Orgeron and former Ohio State University head coach Urban Meyer. The president called Holtz an “incredible leader” who deserved the country’s highest civilian honor.
“I’ve known him for a long time. He’s a great friend of mine and I think I’ve received letters from every football coach, almost, in the nation,” Trump said.
Trump cited Holtz’s contributions to college sports and charitable endeavors as key factors in his nomination. The ceremony is expected to take place in the “not too distant future,” he added.
Holtz, 83, compiled one of the most decorated coaching resumes in history during his decades-long run in college football. He compiled a career record of 243-132-7 during stops at some of the nation’s most prominent programs, including the University of Notre Dame. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2008.
More recently, Holtz has emerged as an outspoken supporter of the Trump administration. He spoke on the president’s behalf at the Republican National Convention last month.
In his speech, Holtz said that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden was “Catholic in name only” and praised Trump’s record while in office.
“When a leader tells you something, you’ve got to be able to count on it,” Holtz said. “That’s President Trump. He says what he means, he means what he says, and he’s done what he said he would do at every single turn.”
Other prominent recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in the sports world include golfer Tiger Woods and NBA legend Michael Jordan.