Beth Holtz, a loving mother and wife of former Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz, passed away Wednesday at 83 after battling throat cancer for many years.
When I was the Sports Anchor at the CBS affiliate WSBT in South Bend I can remember going to their home a couple of nights before #2 Notre Dame hosted #1 Florida State in November of 1993. The Holtz’s invited the media to come out which was unusual since such a big game was coming up, but she was so gracious that night and every time I saw her at luncheons and events.
She first got indications of her battle against throat cancer when she got a sore throat during their days in South Bend.
“I was coaching at Notre Dame when Beth came down with a sore throat,” he told The Goshen News in 2007. “The biopsy was negative. The doctor told her she might have been yelling too much at football games. He doesn’t know my wife. She might yell at me, but not at football games.
She has always said that opposites attract and then attack.”
“I had gone to Florida and she called with the news that she had cancer. One of the first things I did was call the builders and tell them we wanted an addition put on the house. That gave her something to think about besides the cancer.”
Lou has always believed that we have four needs and one of them is to look forward to something, to have something to hope for, which is why he had the addition started at their Orlando home, because it sent a message to her that she would be there to do it as she loved to work on their home and add to it.
“We went to Mayo Clinic,” Lou said. “Her first question to the doctor was why me? He looked at her and asked which one of her family members she would want this to happen to rather than her. When he put it that way, it was a little easier for her to accept.”
Lou had to have perseverance when he was courting her as she first turned them down. He has always joked that he finally wore her down.
There was a time fairly early in their marriage when he was part of a coaching staff that got laid off and she was supporting the family through her medical job and she bought him a motivational book, The Magic of Thinking Big, which really got him jump-started into his legendary head coaching career in football.
Beth went through 83 radiation treatments over the years and battled to the very end having to be fed through a tube in her final year.
As I remember they both have plots to be buried at Notre Dame not too far from the golden dome. They were three weeks shy of being married 59 years.