Holtz shares wisdom

Lydia Coutre

Lou Holtz, Kent State alumnus, spoke in the Student Center Ballroom last night as part of Kent State’s Centennial celebration. Holtz expressed three main points: do right, do everything to the best of your ability and show people you care. Rachel Kilroy |

Credit: DKS Editors

Kent State alumnus Lou Holtz walked on stage last night and reassured the crowd he wasn’t there to lecture.

“I want to share some thoughts and ideas that I wish I had known many years ago,” he said after being welcomed with a standing ovation. “I’ve been 21. You have never been 72.”

Holtz spoke in the Student Center Ballroom as a part of the Centennial Starner Distinguished Speaker Series, sponsored by Buzz and Marilyn Starner.

In his speech, called “If You Didn’t Show Up, Who Would Miss You And Why?”, the former Notre Dame football coach focused on how his experience in athletics has contributed to other parts of his life.

“Life is what you learn on the field,” Holtz said. “If you’re going to get knocked down, get up.”

Holtz, now an ESPN football analyst, talked about his career and what he’s seen and learned.

“I really don’t understand why some people born with so much talent achieve so little, and some people born with so little achieve so much,” Holtz said.

He emphasized the importance of always persevering, not only in sports, but in life as well.

“People don’t care about how good you want to be,” Holtz said. “They want to know what you accomplished, what you overcame.”

He strongly advised approaching tasks in life with enthusiasm.

“Whatever you do the rest of your life, be excited about it even if you don’t want to,” Holtz said.

Even discipline should be appreciated.

“Discipline’s not what they do to you,” Holtz said. “Discipline is what they do for you.”

Holtz also talked about overcoming discouragement and negative attitudes.

“There’s always going to be people who tell you you can’t do something, but they’re always the ones that never achieved anything,” he said.

And to lead happy lives, Holtz said people need to fill four basic needs.

“If you don’t find four things in your life, you’re going to find a void,” Holtz said. “Everybody needs something to do. Everybody needs someone to love. Everybody needs something to hope for. Everybody needs something to believe in.”

Football player Leneric Muldrow said he was very impressed with the speech.

“He spoke a lot about not just being an athlete, but being a person in general [and] living his life,” Muldrow said. “[He talked about] the way things on the field always impact things off the field, and some of those things really hit home.”

Laing Kennedy, Kent State director of athletics, also had high praise for the speech.

“I thought it was outstanding,” Kennedy said. “[It was] Very, very impressive because he talks like that all the time. He does not use notes. It’s all from his heart. He’s lived it all.”

If nothing else, Holtz wanted the audience to remember the importance of embracing change.

“Whatever you’re doing in your life, you’re either growing or you’re dying,” Holtz said. “Don’t ever stay the same.”

Contact news correspondent Lydia Coutre at [email protected].