College Football / Randy Harvey : Now, as Irish Coach, Holtz Has Broyles’ Support


Judging from his comments, no one was more pleased that Lou Holtz was named the coach at Notre Dame than Athletic Director Frank Broyles of Arkansas. Considering that he forced Holtz’s resignation as the Razorbacks’ head coach two years ago, Broyles’ endorsement wasn’t a foregone conclusion.

Holtz had a 60-21-2 record in seven years at Arkansas, but he lost five games in each of his last two seasons. The feeling in Fayetteville was that he built his record with athletes inherited from his predecessor, Broyles, but was unable to win with his own athletes.

Arkansas fans became disenchanted with Holtz when he began losing the best high school players in the state to Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and the schools in Texas.


There were two reasons for that.

One is that he wouldn’t cheat, which automatically left him at a disadvantage in the Southwest Conference.

The other is that he is a terrible recruiter. A man who lights up like Charo on the Tonight Show and can keep large audiences spellbound with his talent for public speaking freezes in one-on-one situations. Many high school athletes were disappointed when they met him, expecting the charismatic public Holtz and instead getting the withdrawn private Holtz.

His public endorsement of North Carolina’s ultra-conservative senator, Jesse Helms, also caused Holtz problems in recruiting black athletes. His assistant coaches complained that the first question they were asked upon meeting an athlete’s parents was why Holtz supported Helms.

Fortunately for Holtz, the ability to recruit is not a high priority at Notre Dame. Just a chance to play for the Irish lures many outstanding athletes each year. All he has to do is coach them. No one questions his ability to do that.

The end came for Holtz at Arkansas after he fired two defensive assistants without consulting his defensive coordinator, Don Lindsey, who angrily resigned.

Seeking reassurance, Holtz approached Broyles with his own letter of resignation. A man whose personality often is described as moody, Holtz threatened to resign on two earlier occasions. But he was talked out of it, once by his assistants and once by Broyles.


Feeling that he needed another vote of confidence from Broyles, Holtz instead was told he no longer had a job at Arkansas. Even though it was announced as a resignation, Holtz had no intention of leaving Arkansas before he was told to resign by Broyles.

Holtz then called Athletic Director Paul Giel of Minnesota, whose job offer he had rejected two weeks earlier.

Today’s game against Virginia may be Bobby Ross’ last as the head coach at Maryland. Although Ross denies he is seeking employment elsewhere, he twice has delayed signing a contract extension at Maryland.

Ross apparently is bothered because the university’s admissions office won’t compromise its standards to aid him in recruiting. He had commitments last year from several athletes who subsequently weren’t allowed to enroll because of their high school academic records.

The attendance in College Park also has been a disappointment, leading to speculation that Maryland will play more home games in Baltimore. Ross feels the fans haven’t been supportive enough of his team, which has a 7-3 record and can win the Atlantic Coast Conference championship with a victory over Virginia.

A former assistant at Kansas City, Ross has been rumored to be the Chiefs’ first choice to replace John Mackovic at the end of the season. Ross also has been mentioned as a candidate to replace Dan Henning with the Atlanta Falcons.


Penn State Coach Joe Paterno once said he didn’t want to retire “and leave college football to the Barry Switzers and Jackie Sherrills.”

That was before Paterno and Oklahoma Coach Switzer became close friends. Their teams will meet in the Orange Bowl.

“I really like Barry,” Paterno told the Associated Press. “I’ve really gotten very fond of him. That thing was said years ago. A lot of water has gone under the dam since then.”

In a separate interview with the Associated Press, Switzer said: “I know what he was talking about, and he may have been right. A lot of people perceived me one way, but they didn’t know me.”

The article by the Associated Press’ college football editor, Herschel Nissensen, pointed out that Paterno has not changed his mind about Sherrill, who coached at Pittsburgh before moving to Texas A&M.;

College Notes

The Miami Hurricanes (9-1) have fallen behind Oklahoma (8-1) in both wire-service polls, even though they beat the Sooners, 27-14, in Norman, Okla., six weeks ago. “Oklahoma being ranked above us is a joke,” Miami Coach Jimmy Johnson told USA Today. “People talk about a playoff and settling it on the field, but this has been settled on the field. We beat them at their place.” Oklahoma is No. 2 in the UPI poll and No. 3 in the AP poll. Miami is No. 4 in both. . . . Oklahoma’s Jamelle Holieway, a freshman from Banning High School, was the AP’s first-team All Big Eight quarterback, even though Saturday’s game against Oklahoma State will be only his sixth start.


The only candidate to replace Foge Fazio as head coach at Pittsburgh who has been announced is Oklahoma State’s Pat Jones, a former Pitt assistant. But Tennessee’s Johnny Majors is believed to be interested if he can also become the athletic director. Majors, who coached Pitt to its last national championship, was unhappy when Doug Dickey was named athletic director at Tennessee last year. Nothing personal, but Majors wanted the job. Incidentally, Dickey’s son replaced injured Tony Robinson as the Volunteers’ quarterback and could take them to the Sugar Bowl if they beat Vanderbilt Saturday. . . . If Ohio State wins the Florida Citrus Bowl against Brigham Young, it will be the Buckeyes’ sixth straight 9-3 season. Coach Earle Bruce has received another one-year contract extension. . . . Florida Coach Galen Hall also had his contract extended.

TCU Coach Jim Wacker, whose season fell apart after he suspended seven players for accepting money from boosters, had a graveside ceremony on his television show this week. Six players, an assistant coach and Wacker, all dressed in black, buried the 3-8 season following a somber eulogy by the head coach. They then exchanged high-fives. . . . It’s no secret that Wacker and Texas A&M; Coach Jackie Sherrill don’t get along. But even some of Sherrill’s supporters thought he carried it too far when the Aggies tried an onside kick while leading the Horned Frogs, 46-0, last Saturday. Sherrill later denied he had ordered an onside kick. There was speculation that his players might have decided to do it on their own. “That was kind of a strange call at 46-0,” Wacker said. “But I don’t want to say anything to detract from the accomplishments of the Texas A&M; football players. They deserved to win today. But let me tell you. We have a young football team, and young players tend to remember things like onside kicks.”