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Holtz Makes a Clean Break After Last Victory at Home

Nonconference: Outgoing Irish coach gets emotional following his 100th win at school, a 62-0 rout of Rutgers. Davie expected to be named today.

November 24, 1996|From Associated Press

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Lou Holtz didn't break down when he ran onto the Notre Dame Stadium field for the last time. And he remained stoic when his players hoisted him on their shoulders and carried him off the field following their 62-0 victory over Rutgers Saturday.

But Holtz couldn't contain his emotions when he was asked about his best memory of Notre Dame in his postgame news conference.

"I ran an honest program," said Holtz, who is leaving after 11 years as coach of the Fighting Irish. "I lived and tried to have our players live by the values that Notre Dame espouses.

"I can look up at the lady on the Dome, I can look up at God and say, 'I think I left it clean, I think I left it clean,' " he said, his eyes filling with tears and his voice breaking. "If there are no other questions, thank you."

Holtz wiped away tears as he left the podium, and started sobbing as he walked out of the interview tent.

He announced his resignation Tuesday, and his players helped his final home game at Notre Dame one to remember. Holtz got his 100th victory as Irish coach in the last game played at Notre Dame Stadium before a 21,915-seat expansion is completed.

Ron Powlus threw for four touchdowns, setting a school career record of 42 and tying the single-game record. Autry Denson rushed for 116 yards, giving him 1,019 yards this season.

The 62 points against Rutgers (2-8) were the most scored by Notre Dame (8-2) during Holtz's career, and the most for any Irish team since a 69-14 victory over Georgia Tech in 1977. Notre Dame had 658 yards and held Rutgers to 49--including minus-six rushing.

As the clock ran out, players hoisted him on their shoulders and carried him to midfield. He then ran to the end of the field where, surrounded by his players, he thanked the students for their support.

Players later gave Holtz the game ball.

"Today I went down there with one thought: gratitude," Holtz said. "Just gratitude."

Holtz has a 100-29-2 record at Notre Dame, five victories shy of Knute Rockne's record. Defensive coordinator Bob Davie is expected to replace him, with the formal announcement set for today.

Davie refused to comment, saying only that he was "keeping it all in perspective." But Holtz said he could not think of a better person than Davie to replace him.

"If it is Bob Davie, I'm particularly delighted," he said. "With Bob Davie, I would feel that I was more a part of it. But Bob Davie is his own man and he'll put his own touch on the football team, as he should."

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