“There is a man who is an incredible leader, Lou Holtz. I know him since a long time. He’s a friend of mine, ”Trump said on Friday.
Holtz, the former Notre Dame and South Carolina head coach, was in the briefing room when Trump made the announcement. He endorsed Trump for president in 2016.
Trump told reporters he had received “letters from almost every football coach in the country” recommending Holtz for the honor.
“We analyzed it very closely. We have looked at all of these recommendations. We looked at Lou’s life and career and what he did for charity – football was obvious. He was a great coach but what he is goes beyond coaching, ”Trump said of the honor.
Holtz, a Hall of Fame coach, guided Notre Dame to a 100-30-2 record in 11 seasons. He also founded the Holtz’s Heroes Foundation, which provides a platform to help underprivileged students in Notre Dame.
The president has honored several professional athletes – many of whom are supporters – with the medal since taking office, including the former NFL star and Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Alan Page, former point guard Boston Celtics Bob Cousy, former Lakers player Jerry West, Woods, former Yankee Mariano Rivera and former NFL quarterback Roger Staubach.