125 Lou Holtz Quotes on Coaching and Teamwork

Lou Holtz was born in 1937 and was a highly successful college football coach, sports analyst and motivational speaker.

He has had a remarkable career in football. His coaching stint spanned across several institutions, including the University of Iowa, Notre Dame and South Carolina, earning him numerous accolades such as National Coach of the Year and the Paul “Bear” Bryant Award.

Holtz, recognized for his exceptional motivational skills, also turned his wisdom into bestselling books like “Winning Every Day: The Game Plan for Success”.


Despite a humble upbringing and challenges such as a speech impediment, Holtz has left an indelible mark on football, inspiring countless individuals through his coaching, writings and speeches.

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I have selected the most inspiring quotes by Lou Holtz.

Top Lou Holtz Quotes on Coaching

1. “Without self-discipline, success is impossible, period.” ~ (Lou Holtz).


2. “It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

3. “Do right. Do your best. Treat others as you want to be treated.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

4. “I follow three rules: Do the right thing, do the best you can, and always show people you care.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

5. “Your talent determines what you can do. Your motivation determines how much you are willing to do. Your attitude determines how well you do it.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

6. “Life is 10 percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

7. “Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

8. “You were not born a winner, and you were not born a loser. You are what you make yourself be.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

9. “Everybody needs four things in life: Something to do, someone to love, someone to believe in and something to hope for.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

10. “In this world, you’re either growing or you’re dying so get in motion and grow.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

11. “Winners embrace hard work. They love the discipline of it, the trade-off they’re making to win. Losers, on the other hand, see it as punishment. And that’s the difference.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

12. “You’re never as good as everyone tells you when you win, and you’re never as bad as they say when you lose.” ~ (Lou Holtz).


13. “I never learn anything talking. I only learn things when I ask questions.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

14. “If what you did yesterday seems big, you haven’t done anything today.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

15. “Virtually nothing is impossible in this world if you just put your mind to it and maintain a positive attitude.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

16. “If you’re bored with life – you don’t get up every morning with a burning desire to do things – you don’t have enough goals.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

17. “Don’t tell your problems to people: eighty percent don’t care; and the other twenty percent are glad you have them.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

18. “What’s important now? – To evaluate the past, focus on the future, and tell you what you have to do in the present.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

19. “No one has ever drowned in sweat.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

20. “Don’t ever promise more than you can deliver, but always deliver more than you promise.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

21. “Don’t be a spectator, don’t let life pass you by.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

22. “Only the unprepared are overcome by pressure.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

23. “In life, be a participant, not a spectator.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

24. “If you are killing time, it’s not murder. It’s suicide.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

25. “Teamwork is the foundation of success. The three universal questions that an individual asks of his coach, player, employee, employer are: Can I trust you? Are you committed to excellence? And, do you care about me?” ~ (Lou Holtz).

Best Lou Holtz Quotes

26. “Don’t tell me how rocky the sea is, just bring the ship in.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

27. “You might not be able to outthink, outmarket or outspend your competition, but you can outwork them.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

28. “First we become the best, then we’ll become first.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

29. “I do know this: God does answer your prayers, but it’s not always in the way you expect. God knows what’s best for us, though, so there’s no need to worry when things don’t go how we originally wanted them to go.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

30. “What you are capable of achieving is determined by your talent and ability. What you attempt to do is determined by your motivation. How well you do something is determined by your attitude.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

31. “Those who know Notre Dame, no explanation’s necessary. Those who don’t, no explanation will suffice.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

32. “How you respond to the challenge in the second half will determine what you become after the game, whether you are a winner or a loser.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

33. “Nothing is as good as it seems and nothing is as bad, but somewhere between reality falls.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

34. “It’s always better to face the truth, no matter how uncomfortable, than to continue coddling a lie.” ~ (Lou Holtz).


35. “Never settle for second when first is available.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

36. “The man who complains about the way the ball bounces is likely the one who dropped it.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

37. “Show me someone who has done something worthwhile, and I’ll show you someone who has overcome adversity.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

38. “Don’t run if you can walk. Don’t walk if you can stand. Don’t stand if you can sit. Don’t sit if you can lie down.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

39. “We aren’t where we want to be; we aren’t where we ought to be; but thank goodness we aren’t where we used to be.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

40. “Remember. Every day, some ordinary person does something extraordinary. Today, it’s your turn.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

41. “When people need love and understanding and support the most is when they deserve it the least.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

42. “It’s the extra effort after you have done your best that creates victory.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

43. “Build your empire on the firm foundation of the fundamentals.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

44. “If you don’t make a total commitment to whatever you are doing, then you start looking to bail out the first time the boat starts leaking.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

45. “No matter how bad someone has it, there are others who have it worse. Remembering that makes life a lot easier and allows you to take pleasure in the blessings you have been given.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

46. “In the successful organization, no detail is too small to escape close attention.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

47. “It always amazes me that spectators want to coach, coaches want to officiate, and officials just want to watch the game.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

48. “Winners and losers aren’t born, they are the products of how they think.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

49. “Sacrifice, discipline and prayer are essential. We gain strength through God’s word. We receive grace from the sacrament. And when we fumble due to sin – and it’s gonna happen – confession puts us back on the field.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

50. “Everybody is looking for instant success, but it doesn’t work that way. You build a successful life one day at a time.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

51. “So many times people are afraid of competition, when it should bring out the best in us. We all have talents and abilities, so why be intimidated by other people’s skills?” ~ (Lou Holtz).

52. “People eyeing you as a potential leader tend to ask three questions: Are you committed? Do you care about me? Can I trust you?” ~ (Lou Holtz).


53. “Everything ends badly, otherwise it would not end.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

54. “Motivation is simple. You eliminate those who are not motivated.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

55. “There are certain things in this world we all have in common such as time. Everybody has sixty seconds to a minute, sixty minutes to an hour, twenty-four hours to a day. The difference is what we do with that time and how we use it.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

56. “If you burn your neighbor’s house down, it doesn’t make your house look any better.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

57. “A team wins with the elimination of mistakes and with people who want to win and can’t stand losing.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

58. “The key to winning is choosing to do God’s will and loving others with all you’ve got.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

59. “You’ll never get ahead of anyone as long as you try to get even with him.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

60. “Everyone goes through adversity in life, but what matters is how you learn from it.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

61. “All winning teams are goal-oriented. Teams like these win consistently because everyone connected with them concentrates on specific objectives. They go about their business with blinders on; nothing will distract them from achieving their aims.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

62. “You must have dreams and goals if you are ever going to achieve anything in this world.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

63. “Underconfidence breeds underachievement.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

64. “I think that we have opportunities all around us – sometimes we just don’t recognize them.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

65. “You will never be indecisive if you know your purpose.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

66. “The answer is surprisingly simple. Just do right. Live an honorable life.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

67. “I used to pray that God would make me a great athlete, and He never did.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

68. “I believe that having a spiritual life is so important in everybody’s life.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

69. “It’s good to be successful but it’s great to be significant.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

70. “If you’ve been there, no explanation is necessary. If you haven’t, none is adequate.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

Famous Lou Holtz Quotes

71. “You’ve got to have great athletes to win, I don’t care who the coach is. You can’t win without good athletes but you can lose with them. This is where coaching makes the difference.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

72. “On this team, we’re all united in a common goal: to keep my job.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

73. “Don’t let failure get you down. Babe Ruth struck out over 1,300 times.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

74. “You always have to prepare for the obstacles that are going to come. Consequently, when they do come, it doesn’t affect you mentally near as much as when you’re unprepared for them.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

75. “How do you know what it’s like to be stupid if you’ve never been smart?” ~ (Lou Holtz).

76. “See, winners embrace hard work.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

77. “The standards you establish for others must reflect the standards you set for yourself. No one will follow a hypocrite.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

78. “You can’t motivate a group of people or a Team. You have to motivate people individually, and that motivation has to be in an environment in which that person has a goal – something they want to accomplish in their lives.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

79. “For victory in life, we’ve got to keep focused on the goal, and the goal is Heaven.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

80. “God looks after children, animals and idiots.” ~ (Lou Holtz).


81. “It’s a better view if you’re standing up than if you’re laying down.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

82. “After winning, most teams become individuals; most teams become complacent.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

83. “Adversity is another way to measure the greatness of individuals. I never had a crisis that didn’t make me stronger.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

84. “God answers prayers, but he doesn’t always answer it your way.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

85. “One reason I won’t compromise is because I believe honesty helps you win over the long haul. You can win a game tomorrow and lose a team. You can lose a game tomorrow and win a football team.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

86. “The best way to save face is not to use the lower half.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

87. “My wife doesn’t even want to spend 2 hours with me.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

88. “The way you motivate a football team is to eliminate the unmotivated ones.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

89. “I’ve never known anybody to achieve anything without overcoming adversity.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

90. “The problem with having a sense of humor is often that people you use it on aren’t in a very good mood.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

Inspiring Lou Holtz Quotes

91. “I don’t think we can win every game. Just the next one.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

92. “First and foremost I am a teacher, I care. Caring is helping the players to develop.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

93. “When all is said and done, more is said than done.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

94. “I feel that God wants me to coach; otherwise, he wouldn’t have put the desire in me.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

95. “Remember this. Bear Bryant retired at age 69, and he died 28 days after he stopped coaching. If you don’t have something, and a purpose in your life, you’re gonna die.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

96. “The freedom to do your own thing ends when you have obligations and responsibilities.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

97. “If you don’t demand that your people maintain. High performances to remain on your team, Why should they be proud of the association?” ~ (Lou Holtz).

98. “One day you are drinking the wine, and the next day you are picking the grapes.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

99. “Absolutely. There are a thousand better coaches in the cities, but I’m the best in the country.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

100. “You build a successful life a day at a time.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

101. “You can pay people to perform, but you can’t pay people to excel.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

102. “Momentum is whatever your attitude determines it to be.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

103. “If you make a fist and hold it for two hours, you won’t be able to pick up a glass because you’ll be so weak. Let’s stay loose. Let’s have fun.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

104. “I was born January 6, 1937, eight years after Wall Street crashed and two years before John Steinbeck published The Grapes of Wrath, his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about the plight of a family during the Great Depression.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

105. “You don’t go to Notre Dame to learn something, you go to Notre Dame to be somebody.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

Short Lou Holtz Quotes

106. “Ya know, Hitler was a great leader, too.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

107. “You live up – or down – to your expectations.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

108. “Remember that adversity presents us with numerous possibilities for success, if we are just willing to see them.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

109. “In the nineties, everybody wants to talk about their rights and privileges. Twenty-five years ago, people talked about their obligations and responsibilities.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

110. “I give opinions, not advice.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

111. “I was raised in a religious environment, and my wife is one of the more religious people that I have ever known.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

112. “The only people who aren’t going to be criticized are those who do absolutely nothing.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

113. “Actually, all I ever wanted to be was the best in my field.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

114. “They say a tie is like kissing your sister. I guess that is better than kissing your brother.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

115. “I think everyone should experience defeat at least once during their career. You learn a lot from it.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

116. “I don’t drink water, haven’t drank water in 40 years.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

117. “I’d say handling people is the most important thing you can do as a coach. I’ve found every time I’ve gotten into trouble with a player, it’s because I wasn’t talking to him enough.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

118. “The freedom to do your own thing ends when you have obligations and responsibilities. If you want to fail yourself – you can – but you cannot do your own thing if you have responsibilities to team members.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

119. “You aren’t going to find anybody that’s going to be successful without making a sacrifice and without perseverance.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

Lou Holtz Quotes for Motivation

120. “Behind every successful person, stands a very successful mother-in-law.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

121. “An agent won’t help you get drafted higher, won’t make you win more games, and won’t make you faster or stronger.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

122. “I don’t play well enough to be allowed to throw my clubs.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

123. “Everyone wants to win on Saturday afternoon when the game is played. It’s what you do the other six days that decides the outcome.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

124. “We are not going to win because you have a new head coach, any more than you are going to fix a flat tire by changing the driver. We will win the minute all of us get rid of excuses as to why we can’t win and stop wallowing in self-pity.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

125. “I can’t explain why a bride buys her wedding dress, whereas a groom rents his tux.” ~ (Lou Holtz).

Short Biography of Lou Holtz

Lou Holtz, born on January 6, 1937, is a retired American football coach and TV analyst.

Lou Holtz Quotes

Throughout his career, he led teams at William & Mary, North Carolina State, the New York Jets, the University of Arkansas, the University of Minnesota, Notre Dame, and the University of South Carolina.

Full Name Louis Leo Holtz
Born 6 January 1937 (age 87 years), Follansbee, West Virginia, United States
Past Teams Coached South Carolina Gamecocks football (Head coach, 1999–2004), MORE
Spouse Beth Barcus (m. 1961–2020)
Children Skip Holtz, Kevin Holtz, Elizabeth Messaglia, Luanne Altenbaumer
Grandchildren Hailey Elizabeth Holtz, Chad Fitzgerald Holtz, Trey Holtz
Parents Anne Marie Holtz, Andrew Holtz

Holtz’s teams had a combined record of 249-132-7, with his 1988 Notre Dame team winning the Fiesta Bowl and securing a national championship.

He is distinguished for taking six different programs to bowl games and four to top 15 finishes.

After coaching, he became a football analyst for CBS Sports and ESPN, and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2008.

Quick Facts about Lou Holtz

  • Lou Holtz is a legendary figure in American football with over four decades of influence as a coach and motivational speaker.
  • He played college football at Kent State University, where he demonstrated a strong work ethic and passion for the game.
  • Holtz transitioned from playing to coaching, leading several college teams including William & Mary and North Carolina State University.
  • He notably coached the University of Notre Dame, leading them to a national championship.
  • Holtz is not just a coach; he’s also a renowned motivational speaker known for his ability to inspire audiences worldwide.
  • He authored several books, sharing insights on leadership, coaching, and personal development.
  • Holtz has received multiple coaching awards, cementing his status as one of the greats in college football.
  • He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, an honor reflecting his significant contributions to the sport.
  • A strong emphasis on discipline and teamwork marks Holtz’s coaching style.
  • Known for his memorable quotes, Holtz’s words continue to inspire people across various fields.
  • After retiring from coaching, Holtz made a successful transition to television broadcasting.
  • His charismatic personality and deep knowledge of football made him a beloved sports broadcaster.
  • Holtz’s journey from humble beginnings to a triumphant coaching career is a testament to his dedication and perseverance.
  • Throughout his career, Holtz’s leadership and strategic prowess guided his teams to numerous victories.
  • His induction into the College Football Hall of Fame is just one of many accolades that recognize his lasting impact.
  • Holtz’s books have been well-received, helping to inspire many in their professional and personal lives.
  • As a speaker, Holtz’s ability to uplift and motivate is highly sought after for conferences and events.
  • Lou Holtz’s story is one of rising from modest circumstances to achieving greatness on and off the field.
  • His approach to football and life emphasizes excellence, discipline, and motivating others to succeed.
  • Holtz continues to be an influential figure in sports, sharing his experiences and insights with new generations.

Top Questions about Lou Holtz

Q: Who is Lou Holtz?

A: Lou Holtz is a former American football player, coach, and motivational speaker, famously known for his time as head coach of Notre Dame’s football team where he won a national championship in 1988.

Q: What was Lou Holtz famous for?

A: Lou Holtz is celebrated for leading Notre Dame to the 1988 National Championship and achieving 100 wins. He also led teams at William & Mary, North Carolina State, and Arkansas to conference championships and finished in the Top 20 with four different programs.

Q: What is Lou Holtz’s famous quote?

A: Lou Holtz famously said, “Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.”

Q: How many national championships did Lou Holtz win?

A: Lou Holtz won one national championship in 1988 with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

Q: What is Lou Holtz’s coaching philosophy?

A: His coaching philosophy focuses on discipline, hard work, and meticulous attention to detail, emphasizing the importance of motivation and a strong work ethic.

Q: What makes Lou Holtz an intriguing figure?

A: Lou Holtz is known for his impressive coaching career, ability to inspire, and his work as a motivational speaker, making him a respected leader and mentor in sports.

Q: What is Lou Holtz doing now?

A: Lou Holtz is retired from coaching but remains active as a motivational speaker, traveling and sharing his experiences and insights.

Q: What are some of Lou Holtz’s notable achievements?

A: Notable achievements include winning a national championship, multiple conference titles, and receiving several Coach of the Year awards.

Q: Why did Lou Holtz leave Notre Dame?

A: Lou Holtz left Notre Dame after a challenging season in 1983, initially reported as a resignation due to being “tired and burned out,” though it was later revealed that he was dismissed for losing support among fans.

Q: Has Lou Holtz written any books?

A: Yes, Lou Holtz has written several books, including “Winning Every Day: The Game Plan for Success,” and “Three Rules for Living a Good Life.”

Q: What is Lou Holtz’s impact on the world of sports?

A: His impact is profound, with his coaching strategies and motivational techniques influencing many in the sports industry.

Q: How can I learn more about Lou Holtz?

A: Learning more about Lou Holtz can be done through reading his books, exploring interviews, online resources, and attending his motivational talks.

Q: What are some life lessons we can learn from Lou Holtz?

A: Life lessons from Lou Holtz include the importance of perseverance, hard work, and a positive attitude, emphasizing that success comes from dedication and the right mindset.

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Chandan Negi
Chandan Negi

I’m the Founder of Internet Pillar - I love sharing quotes and motivational content to inspire and motivate people - #quotes #motivation #internetpillar