Legendary football coach Lou Holtz will not return to ESPN, according to Sports Illustrated.
Holtz, who led the Notre Dame Fighting Irish to the national title in 1988, has been with ESPN for 11 seasons. Primarily, he’s worked as a studio analyst, where he’s been a regular on “Saturday College Football Final.” Holtz, 78, has said several times that 2014 would be his final season with the network. Granted, in talking to 247Sports, Lou Holtz acknowledged nearly a year ago that he’s been calling the current season his final season for five years.
“This is my fifth last year. They usually talk me into it. ESPN is a great organization to work for.… They’re like my family. I love them. We enjoy it. There comes a time when you need to step aside and let younger people do it.”
On Monday, Sports Illustrated confirmed that, this time, Holtz stuck to his plan and chose to make 2014 his final season with ESPN.
In speaking with Sports Illustrated, an unidentified ESPN spokesperson spoke about Lou Holtz.
“Lou brought a champion’s perspective and a legacy of accomplishment to our coverage along with his distinctive style and humor. We appreciate his contributions and wish him all the best in the future.”
His agent, Sandy Montag, confirmed the news and told SI.com that Lou Holtz is now looking forward.
“Lou enjoyed his time and friendships made at ESPN and looks forward to other opportunities in college football.”
Perhaps the time for Holtz’s departure just seemed right, as other changes on “Saturday College Football Final” have already been made. During his time with ESPN, Lou Holtz worked primarily with Rece Davis. In February, it was announced that Davis would leave “Saturday College Football Final” in order to host ESPN’s flagship football show, “GameDay.” Davis will fill the hole left by former host Chris Fowler, as Fowler left “GameDay” in order to replace Brent Musberger as ABCs prime time play-by-play broadcaster.
While on the show, Holtz used his experience on the sideline to provide valuable insight into an array of situations in college football. Holtz finished his coaching career with an overall record of 239-132-7. He’s the only coach to lead teams at six different programs to bowl games, and he’s the only coach to lead teams at four different programs into top-20 rankings. In addition to coaching at Notre Dame, Lou Holtz also coached at North Carolina State University, the University of Arkansas, and the University of Minnesota.
During his May interview with 247Sports, Lou Holtz said that he would like to retire from ESPN in order to work on his golf game and spend more time with his wife.
“I’d like to practice my golf a little more. I’ve been everywhere except to bed. I’ve spoken to everybody except my wife. Somebody said, ‘Do you ever go anywhere where people don’t recognize you?’ I said home. I owe it to her to spend a little more time with her. I said that last year too.”
What do you think of Lou Holtz’ decision to leave ESPN?
[Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images]