Even if you casually follow college football, you know Lou Holtz. The two-time national college football Coach of the Year captured the same honor in two conferences — the ACC (1972) and SEC (2000) — during a coaching career spanning over four decades. A linebacker in his playing days at Kent State, Holtz worked as an assistant coach for several teams, winning the 1968 national championship working for Woody Hayes’ Ohio State Buckeyes. Stints with the Arkansas Razorbacks and Minnesota Golden Gophers landed Holtz his most famous job, taking over a struggling Notre Dame Fighting Irish program in 1986.
By his third season, Notre Dame went 12-0 and captured a national title. Holtz would win 100 games in 11 seasons in South Bend, including five major bowl games. He turned down a lifetime contract and retired in 1996, later citing the immense pressure that would have entailed. He did return to coaching, attempting to lead the South Carolina Gamecocks out of the Southeastern Conference’s basement for six seasons. Holtz retired for good in 2004 and received induction into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2008.
Typically partnered alongside Mark May, Holtz became one of ESPN’s top college football analysts. The head coach’s insights were a welcome addition to numerous programming before he and the network mutually parted ways in 2015.
Through it all, there was Coach Holtz’s wife Beth Barcus.
Who Was Lou Holtz’s Wife?
Lou and Beth Holtz were married in July 1961 when Lou was coaching at William & Mary. Together, they had four children — Skip, Elizabeth, Kevin and Luanne — three of whom graduated from the University of Notre Dame. Skip Holtz followed in his father’s footsteps; Today, he’s the head football coach at Louisiana Tech.
At the tail end of Holtz’s tenure with Notre Dame football, Beth was diagnosed with throat cancer. It’s reported that she underwent 83 radiation treatments over the years, battling to the very end.
“My wife is No. 1,” Lou Holtz said in an interview last October. “She has been on a feeding tube for the past year, will be for the rest of her life. She can’t travel or anything else — so [my priorities are] taking care of her.”
Sadly, Beth Holtz died on June 30, 2020 at age 83. Her death came three weeks shy of the couple’s 59th wedding anniversary.
Life-long friends of the family, as well as many of Holtz’s former players, took to social media to remember Beth.
Beth Holtz Dies at 83
Our condolences go out to the Holtz family during this tough time.