Trump honors Lou Holtz with Presidential Medal of Freedom

Holtz coached Notre Dame to their last national championship

President Trump honored legendary college football coach Lou Holtz with the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Thursday -- the highest civilian award in the nation.

Trump held the ceremony in the Oval Office at the White House. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe were on hand to witness the honor.

President Donald Trump awards the medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor, to former college football coach Lou Holtz at the White House, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020, in Washington. Holtz had a storied 34-year coaching career that included winning the 1988 national title at the University of Notre Dame. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump awards the medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor, to former college football coach Lou Holtz at the White House, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020, in Washington. Holtz had a storied 34-year coaching career that included winning the 1988 national title at the University of Notre Dame. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

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Hours before receiving the medal, Holtz appeared on “Fox & Friends” and talked about what it means for him to receive the award.

“It’s the highest honor or award you could possibly receive and I receive it with mixed emotions. First of all, I’m humbled,” Holtz told host Brian Kilmeade. “There are many more people far worthy than me I can assure you. Nobody is more appreciative than me. So, I’m excited to have this opportunity and at the same time, I’m excited to receive it from President Trump. The president I admire and respect. I think he did a tremendous job."

He continued: “I’m sad he’s not going to be with us for another four years because he has done so much for this country and he really cares about it so I stand here very proudly to accept this award from President Trump.”

The 83-year-old was a member of Kent State University’s Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps and served as a field officer in the U.S. Army Reserve before getting into football.

President Donald Trump prepares to award the medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor, to former college football coach Lou Holtz at the White House, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020, in Washington. Holtz had a storied 34-year coaching career that included winning the 1988 national title at the University of Notre Dame. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump prepares to award the medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor, to former college football coach Lou Holtz at the White House, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020, in Washington. Holtz had a storied 34-year coaching career that included winning the 1988 national title at the University of Notre Dame. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

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Holtz is an unabashed Trump supporter who spoke at the Republican National Convention in August, declaring the president a consistent winner and an outstanding leader who deserved to be reelected. He told Kilmeade on Thursday that he would like to see another four years of Trump, despite the incumbent losing the election.

“I think we need him,” said Holtz, who was also battled coronavirus last month.

“It’s unbelievable what he went through for four years overall. The mischaracterization about Russia, Russia, Russia and the impeachment, etc. I mean he fought it for four years and what he did for this country was fantastic. He ... the COVID hurt the economy, there’s no doubt about it, but what he did was nothing short of amazing and I think he would definitely go down as one of the great presidents in my lifetime.”

A head football coach at ArkansasNotre Dame and South Carolina, Holtz coached college football for 33 years. He was the head coach of the Fighting Irish for 11 seasons from 1986 to 1996, where he finished with a 110-30-2 record.

In 1988, Notre Dame finished with a perfect 12-0 record and claimed the Fiesta Bowl and won their last national championship. The Fighting Irish ended up as the No. 1 team in The AP Top 25.

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He also had a brief stint in the NFL with the New York Jets.