Lou Holtz coached the Gamecocks from 1999 to 2004

Lou Holtz was born in West Virginia and attended high school in Ohio on the border of Pennsylvania and West Virginia near the Ohio River. He attended college at Kent State and was an assistant coach at USC (Columbia South Carolina) in ’66 and ’67 and famously head coached Notre Dame to a national championship before head coaching the Gamecocks.

Lou Holtz Achievements (Source – Wikipedia entry for Lou Holtz);

  • Holtz is the only college football coach to lead six different programs to bowl games
  • Holtz is the only coach to guide four different programs to the final top 20 ranking

Holtz came out of retirement in 1999 to head coach the University of South Carolina men’s football Gamecocks. Holtz came in following a 1–10 season and improved on that by going 0–11. However in his second season the Gamecocks won eight and lost four, winning a post-season bowl bid where they beat the favored OSU Buckeyes in the 2001 Outback Bowl. Ohio State’s only scoring came on a fumble recovery, the game was a defensive battle which saw USC prevail 24-7. The Gamecocks had capped the third best single-season turnaround in NCAA history, and National Coach of the Year honors for Holtz from Football News and American Football Coaches Quarterly.

Shamefully, upon Coach Lou’s retirement the NCAA imposed three years probation and other sanctions against the Gamecocks. The Columbia SC University of South Carolina men’s football program was yet another victim of a corrupt NCAA enforcement record that has seen second tier teams routinely puinished while their pet teams are viewed with favor. However, the sanction weren’t overly harsh as no games were forfeited, and no television or postseason ban was imposed. Holtz stated flatly “There was no money involved. No athletes were paid. There were no recruiting inducements. No cars. No jobs offered. No ticket scandal”

Ironically, one of the violations listed was ‘illegal off-season tutoring’. And I thought we wanted our students to learn.