Lou Holtz Receives MOAA Citizenship Award

Author, coach, mentor, and ESPN analyst, the name Lou Holtz has made for himself is one of a kind. His contributions to his community are numerous, and on October 17th, he received the Colonel Jack Stephens Citizenship award in honor of his philanthropy.


Presented by the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) , Holtz received this award for his outstanding service to his community and nation. His impact on the South Bend community is immeasurable. He is the last coach to take Notre Dame Football team to a National Championship title, making a name for the college and for himself.

Holtz continuously serves the military after his active duty, including visiting and speaking to troops all over the world. He trained under his alma mater, Kent State’s Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, and earned commission as a Field Artillery Officer upon his graduation.

The legendary coach’s active duty remains a hidden treasure in his history, but has spent the past 35 years visiting troops in 30 countries, making sure to never forget the sacrifices made every day.

Holtz’s organization, Lou’s Lads, helps financially support students aspiring to study at Notre Dame, and works with other charities as well. He also helps Trine University students, inspiring curricula from his leadership style and book, “Winning Every Day,” into the Master of Science in Leadership (MSL) program.

Trine president, Earl D. Brooks II, praises Lou’s donation. “We’re proud to teach and follow his amazing leadership style in our MSL Program. His leadership abilities are visionary and we’re eager to make our already strong program even better with input from him and the addition of new concentrations.” (via Trine University)

MOAA members and attendees of the small ceremony agreed upon his charismatic and knowledgeable personality. Father “Monk” Malloy, former president of Notre Dame, said he was “a witty individual, a great speaker… he’s become an asset to Notre Dame” Holtz’s ability to pull people in and motivate them made him a renowned football coach.

MOAA member Kent Laudeman recounts, “His players respected him for what he could see as far as what’s going to happen in the game… He’s a task master and pushed the players with respect.” In addition to his impact, two of his former players, Tim Brown and Jerome Bettis, were recently inducted in the NFL Hall of Fame.  

Lou Holtz has always been known as generous and loving. His military and coaching background shines with hospitality. Father Malloy repeatedly touched on Holtz’s  impact on the numerous lives he’s touched with his organizations and donations, describing him as an “asset to Notre Dame.”

Lieutenant Colonel Terrence Adams, treasurer of the MOAA, mentions Holtz’s selfless personality, “He is truly dedicated to serving others… When you serve in the military, you don’t serve yourself. You are serving an ideal that is bigger than you.”

In his acceptance speech, despite his generous repertoire, Holtz said, “I’ve been blessed in so many different ways in the last year… Everything I’ve achieved is because someone gave an opportunity to me.” He thanked the people who nominated him, his wife, and his old Notre Dame colleagues, including Father Monk Malloy.

Holtz has motivated an innumerable amount of people in the nation, from speaking to troops, at graduations, or even reporters, “Whatever you do, do the right thing, do the best you can, and always show you care. That’s all you can do.” Between cracking his usual jokes that gave him the infamous humored reputation, he emphasized repeatedly on a specific Mark Twain quote, “The two most important days in your life are the day you were born, and the day you find out why.”