Lou Holtz gave an impassioned speech at the Republican National Convention last month praising President Trump. Now, the favor is being returned, with the nation's highest civilian honor thrown in for good measure. On Friday, Trump announced he'll bestow the Presidential Medal of Freedom to the former Notre Dame football coach, who threw his support behind Trump in the 2016 election, as well as for the upcoming one. "There's a man that's an incredible leader, Lou Holtz," Trump said Friday, per CNN. "I've known him for a long time. He's been a friend of mine." Trump added that he received "letters from every football coach almost in the nation," including University of Alabama coach Nick Saban, urging the president to give the medal to Holtz, per Yahoo Sports.
Holtz is one in a line of sports figures given this award by Trump, including golfer Tiger Woods, former Yankee Mariana Rivera, and retired race-car driver Roger Penske. "We've looked at Lou's life and his career, what he's done for charity," Trump said Friday. "The football is obvious, he was a great coach, but what he's done beyond even coaching." Holtz gave Notre Dame a 100-30-2 record over 11 seasons and also established a foundation that helps underprivileged students at the school. His remarks at the GOP convention raised eyebrows after he blasted Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden for being a Catholic "in name only"; Notre Dame quickly put out a statement distancing itself from its former coach's comments. Trump says the ceremony in which he'll place the medal around Holtz's neck "won't be in the too-distant future," per CNN. (Read more Presidential Medal of Freedom stories.)