Few college football observers would’ve expected one of the biggest newsmakers of 2023 to be Hall of Fame coach Lou Holtz.
However, 19 years after closing the book on his coaching career with South Carolina, Holtz found himself playing a starring role in Notre Dame’s 17–14 loss to Ohio State Saturday evening. On Friday’s episode of The Pat McAfee Show, Holtz questioned the Buckeyes’ toughness under coach Ryan Day; Day responded by furiously rebuking Holtz after his team’s last-second win.
What did Holtz, 86, think of Day’s response? The one-time Ohio State assistant told former Bowling Green and Indiana basketball coach Dan Dakich he understood Day’s position, but stood by his original opinion.
“I called coach (Marcus) Freeman (on Monday) and apologized because I put them in a bad position, maybe,” Holtz said. “I don’t feel bad about saying it because I believe it, and Notre Dame was a better football team.”
The Fighting Irish led 14–10 before Buckeyes running back Chip Trayanum punched in the go-ahead touchdown with one second to play.
“That's (Day’s) choice. I can understand why he (came after me),” Holtz continued. “He doesn’t want to talk about Michigan (because he’s) 0–2 [sic]. He doesn’t want to talk about the big game coming up against Penn State and against Michigan again... Ohio State is a good football team. I don’t think they are a great football team.”
Holtz, a former fixture of televised college football who left ESPN after the 2014 season, concluded by expressing incredulity that his comments gained such wide traction.
“I hadn’t done TV in a few years. I had no idea that it would be that widely received. I really didn’t,” Holtz said. “I had no idea (former West Virginia kicker Pat) McAfee’s show was so widely watched. But I made (the comments), and that’s it. You can’t do anything about it. You can’t change it. You pick up the rifle and march on. That’s all you can do.”