Lou Holtz for Congress? What about that Hitler comment though?
Certainly it wouldn't be the first time a coach has moved from college football to the halls of Congress. Former Nebraska Cornhuskers head coach Tom Osborne served in Congress for six years following his remarkable record on the football field.
One sports reporter in Florida thinks a Holtz victory is in the bag. "If he does run, Kosmas probably has as much a shot at beating Holtz as Baylor had at beating Notre Dame during the years Holtz coached the Irish. It might not be pretty," writes Todd Wright.
It might not be pretty. But for a different reason than the sportswriter thinks. After all, the more you're on the record, the more of a trail you leave. And Holtz has been on the record a lot.
Like last year, when he said that "Hitler was a great leader." He actually said that. Of course, there's context here (something that campaign commercials always leave out). And a lot of reporters left that out when the remarks were first uttered.
Last October, Holtz was discussing Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez's rough first year as the head coach of the Wolverines. While discussing leadership, ESPN co-host Mark May said to Holtz, "You have to have leaders in the locker room to get the team and the young players to buy into what the coach is teaching you."
Holtz replied, "Let's remember this, Hitler was a great leader, too. There are good leaders and bad leaders."
What did he mean? ESPN ombudsman Le Anne Schreiber put it this way:
In context, his garbled but detectable meaning was beware what you wish for. You wish for a strong leader, you may end up with a Hitler.
Understanding both the context and the danger of misinterpretation, 'GameDay' anchor Rece Davis leapt in after Holtz with, "OK, and meaning obviously, that he was a very bad leader."
Later, Davis told me, "It's been very frustrating to read some of the things that have been written. Much of it was a complete mischaracterization of the discussion. There's no way it was implied, nor should it have been inferred, that Lou drew any comparison between Rich Rodriguez and Hitler. He was making a point about establishing leaders in the locker room who lead in the right direction as opposed to the wrong one. Anyone who wrote otherwise either didn't see the discussion or wasn't listening."
However it was meant, controversy erupted quickly as did calls for his firing. He wasn't let go but made plenty of apologies for the statement.
"Last night while trying to make a point about leadership, I made an unfortunate reference," Holtz said the day after. "It was a mistake and I sincerely apologize."
Regardless of the controversy, the chairman of the Orange County Republican Executive Committee in Orlando told the Associated Press that Holtz may suffer from something else -- no one knows who he is.
"I doubt sincerely that 90 percent of the people who live in that district have heard the name before," said Lew Oliver. "It would be different if the guy was named Bob Griese or Don Shula, or someone with Florida connections."