Lou Holtz: 'If he went somewhere else, I felt it was his mistake'
Posted by: Chris Vannini on February 6, 2013
Lou Holtz hasn't coached since 2004, but he went through decades of signing days.
Every coach has stories of players who flipped at the last minute or players you really wanted but missed out on. For Holtz one was Jonathan Ogden.
There's always drama. On ESPN, Holtz explained his keys to closing on a kid, or making sure they don't flip. And if they do, don't take it personally.
"No. 1, when you walk into a young man's home, I want to know who's going to make the decision and what are they looking for," Holtz said. "When it doubt, go with the mom. Is it the boy? The dad? The coach? The mother? Are they looking for education? Early playing time? Winning program? You have to feel in your heart, when you go into your home - whether I was at William & Mary or Notre Dame - I thought I was doing that young man a favor by giving him an opportunity to come to our school.
"I felt he'd be a better student, a better player, a better person and have a better future if he came into our program. If he decided to go somewhere else, I always felt that was his mistake. He wasn't smart enough to see the great things we offer. You can't take it personally. You have to feel you've got the best thing going for him. Who's going to make the decision and what do they want? You'll usually win in the long run."
As Holtz put it, no coach has ever said they didn't get a good class on Signing Day. But after you get that athlete on campus, you have to train him. There's a reason they're called "coaches," after all.
"They did a study: Out of the 100 blue-chippers in Texas over a 10-year period, 50 percent of them never even earned a letter in college. Sometimes this recruiting is overblown," Holtz said. "You don't see TCU in the top five, you don't see Boise State, yet every year, they're pretty good football teams. Let's understand this: When you get a great athlete, there are certain things coaches have to do. Why is Auburn in the top five every year, but they aren't winning? Why do coaches get fired?
"It's a couple things. When you get that great athlete, you've got to teach him the following things: No. 1, how to take coaching. He's never had coaching. He's never been criticized before. How to compete for starting time. How to accept his role. He's always been the star. How to budget your time. All these things have to be taught to these young men.
"Who's going to be able to adjust to college and be able to take coaching and accept his role, those are the ones that will be successful."
Chris Vannini is the lead writer for CoachingSearch.com and has covered Michigan State sports for The State News, The Oakland Press and MLive.com. He writes a weekly column for the Detroit Free Press on behalf of SB Nation. Vannini lives in Big Ten country, so his foot speed is far from SEC caliber, but his pulse on coaches is hard to match. Be sure to follow @CoachingBuzz on twitter and send your feedback to email@example.com