On any given hot summer night in East Liverpool in the 1950's, a group of local boys could be found hanging out on The Dairyland Corner, swapping stories and watching the world pass by. One of these young lads possessed such a positive attitude and winning smile that back in those days, he was affectionately known as "Sunshine". Today, we all know him as Coach Lou Holtz.
Born Louis Leo Holtz on January 6, 1937 in Follensbee, W.Va., Holtz came to East Liverpool at an early age when his father, Andy, began working for the local bus company. Because Andy went into World War II, Holtz and his mother Anne spent much time with her brother, the late Lou Tychonievich, and many of the local youths with whom he still maintains friendships today. Dreaming that one day he would weigh enough to be worthy of an ELHS Potters football uniform, Holtz never missed a practice during the days when many would liked to have escaped the wrath of head coach Wade Watts. But under the demanding mentor, he observed and formed an unshakable foundation that would allow him to lead and influence countless young people in the future.
It was during his high school years at ELHS that he met Beth Barcus, and together they formed a partnership that has stood as an example and an inspiration to all. Their four grown children, Luanne, Skip, Kevin and Liz, are a tribute to the Holtz's dedication and devotion to family life.
His successful football career is a matter of public knowledge and national headlines. But what can be said about one who has done so much for his hometown? Even after taking his Notre Dame Irish team to the national championship, becoming one of the most popular and successful college coaches of all time, after visiting with four different U.S. presidents, the Pope and other dignitaries from around the world, being showered with countless accolades and honors.... he has never once forgotten his hometown and the individuals who were an instrumental part of his life back in those early days.
For the example Coach Holtz has set, for the work he has done, for the spirit he has ignited in us all, we commended him and honored him on July 5, 1998.