With the new Fisher House at the Veteran’s Hospital here in Lake Nona set to open in January or February of 2018, final preparations are currently being put into place to ensure that everything is organized so families can begin using the facility upon its opening. One of these final preparations included naming legendary Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz as the Honorary Chairman for the Friends of Fisher House Orlando. The Friends of Fisher House Orlando (FOFHO) is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization established solely to support funding for the Fisher House.
Holtz is a longtime resident of the Lake Nona Golf and Country Club and an accomplished man, having served as an Army Reserve Officer and earning a commission as a Field Artillery Officer. He graduated from Kent State with a Bachelor’s in History after playing linebacker for the Kent State team for two seasons until an injury ended his playing career.
Coming from repair jobs at William and Mary, North Carolina State, Arkansas and Minnesota, Holtz took over the Notre Dame team in November 1985 with a reputation for being able to fix even the most broken of football teams. In his 11 seasons at Notre Dame, Holtz chalked up more victories than the number accumulated by Ara Parseghian, Knute Rockne or Frank Leahy in their first 11 years on the job, including the consensus national championship in 1988 and a record 23-game winning streak that ranks as the longest in Notre Dame history.
After his departure from Notre Dame following the 1996 season, he joined CBS Sports’ College Football Today for two seasons as a sports analyst and worked with United States Filter (a global provider of water treatment) as a customer relations spokesman.
Holtz has authored three New York Times best-selling books, including The Fighting Spirit that chronicled Notre Dame’s 1988 championship season and Winning Everyday: A Game Plan for Success (August 1998), which has been published in several languages. His latest book, a bestseller that was released on Aug. 15, 2006, is Wins, Losses and Lessons, an autobiography of his life and the lessons he has learned.
The Walter Camp Football Foundation, an award that is presented annually to an individual who has attained a measure of success and been a leader in his chosen profession, named Lou Holtz 1998’s Man of the Year. This is the second time Coach Holtz has been saluted by the organization named for the legendary Father of American Football. In 1977, while in Arkansas, he was named Coach of the Year. Additionally, Holtz has been honored with numerous awards for his philanthropy and coaching success.
Notre Dame has a statue of Coach Holtz with his favorite three words on the pedestal: Trust, Commitment, Love, three qualities which he brings to not only the sport that he loves but also to the work in his community and his everyday life.