Former USC coach Holtz speaks at graduation, gets honorary degree

pobley@thestate.comDecember 17, 2012 

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USC headcoach Lou Holtz ackowledges the crowd as he makes an appearance on ESPN Gameday in 2001.

TAKAAKI IWABU

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Speaking at USC’s commencement exercises after receiving an honorary doctorate in education, former Gamecocks football coach Lou Holtz shared anecdotes and waxed philosophical during a 10-minute address.

Self-deprecating as always, Holtz said he probably is the only person who had written more books than he had read and finished in the bottom half of his high school graduation class.

He shared a story of his first tour of duty with the Gamecocks in the mid-1960s.

Holtz was hired by Marvin Bass following the 1965 season and moved to Columbia with wife Beth, who was eight months pregnant.

"One month later I picked up the paper and it said Marvin Bass resigned," Holtz said. "I said, ‘I wonder if he’s related to my coach.’"

Beth gave birth to Kevin, who went on to become a lawyer, who learned, "If someone goes to jail, make sure it’s your client and not you."

Earlier in the day, Holtz toured the football facilities, visiting with Steve Spurrier. He then toured the USC campus and other athletic facilities with USC athletics director Ray Tanner.

"ESPN should come and do a story on this," Holtz said following the tour, marveling about the various upgrades. "Talk about a miracle."

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