Beth Holtz, wife of Lou Holtz, dies at 83
Beth Holtz, an honorary Notre Dame Monogram winner, avid philanthropist, promoter of education and wife of former head football coach Lou Holtz, passed away this week at the age of 83.
Awarded an honorary Monogram on September 13, 2008, she was recognized the same weekend that a sculpture was dedicated in her husband’s honor on Notre Dame’s campus.
“Beth was not only an advocate of our University’s mission and a loving presence in the Notre Dame family, but a wife to one of our coaches, a mom to one of our student-athletes and a supporter of many students through the Lou & Beth Holtz Scholarship at Notre Dame,” James E. Rohr Director of Athletics Jack Swarbrick said. “Our University community mourns the loss of Beth and our prayers are with the Holtz family at this time.”
Lou and Beth Holtz founded the Holtz Charitable Foundation in 1998. The program is committed to promoting Christianity, education and charity and has awarded grants to many non-profit organizations that support its mission.
The Holtz Charitable Foundation has provided important funding to several causes including trade scholarships, homeless centers and Christian ministries. The homeless shelter in Columbia, South Carolina, was named after Lou and Beth Holtz in December 2003, and both have been instrumental in helping the Center for the Homeless in South Bend. The foundation has also supported multiple Catholic universities across the nation. In 2015, the couple received the Notre Dame Prize for Catholic Education.
Beth and Lou Holtz’s longtime philanthropy to Notre Dame encompasses many areas close to their hearts, from their membership in the Rockne Heritage Fund that underwrites financial aid to Notre Dame student-athletes, to their establishment in 1991 of the Lou and Beth Holtz Family Scholarship that assists deserving undergraduate students who have demonstrated financial need. As a result, fifty-four Notre Dame students have received nearly $1 million in scholarship funding.
“Beth was an extraordinary human being who possessed the quiet strength necessary to support her equal, Coach Holtz,” said Notre Dame assistant athletics director of alumni relations Reggie Brooks. “While Coach Holtz was in the spotlight, Beth was the foundation for the Holtz family which extended beyond their four biological children to include hundreds of young men coached, mentored and cared for throughout their many stops. She was a comforting mother for me and so many others whose mothers were miles away.”
Beth and Lou Holtz funded the renovation of chapels in three student residence halls: Breen-Phillips Hall, Morrissey Hall and St. Edward’s Hall. They also established the Liz Holtz Endowment for Excellence for Lyons Hall to provide an annual operating budget and provide for future needs and enhancements for residents of the hall.
Last year, Beth and Lou contributed $100,000 to the Lou’s Lads Endowed Scholarship (now named the Holtz’s Heroes Foundation), a need-based scholarship for the grandchildren of former Lou Holtz football players and for other students who have demonstrated financial need.
In 2011-12, Beth and Lou Holtz were named the University’s first “ambassadors for research” and took a prominent role in increasing awareness of the University’s mission to pursue research that aims to heal, unify and enlighten. Research to help people with cancer, in particular, is a deeply personal cause for the Holtz family; in 1997, Beth Holtz was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and was given a five-percent chance of survival. She credited her recovery to her strong faith and the support of her family and others around her during her illness.
Beth and Lou Holtz have contributed to the University of Notre Dame in countless and often untold ways, not only with generous financial contributions, but also through their precious gift of time.
This past October, Beth was honored in Florida by the Leaving Legacies Foundation with their namesake award, which recognizes personal accomplishments and dedication to philanthropy and service. In their words, “These are often the unsung heroes of various causes that make the biggest impact.”
Together, the couple has four children: Luanne; Louis “Skip” Jr., a 1987 Notre Dame graduate; Kevin, a 1989 Notre Dame graduate; and Elizabeth, a 1991 Notre Dame graduate.
Holtz’s funeral Mass will be held at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on Notre Dame’s campus.