Lou Holtz was a Skins coaching candidate?
"Listen, I talked to Dan Snyder about that job once before," Lou Holtz told Mike Wise this week, when Wise jokingly asked him whether he'd agree to coach the Redskins next season. "It was never offered to me. We were involved in a bowl game, said we could not talk until after the bowl game. By that time they had made another decision. That was several years ago when I was at South Carolina, but it was never offered to me."
This was news to me. Not, however, to loyal Washington Post readers. The year was 2000. Holtz had just transformed a terrible South Carolina team into an 8-4 squad that would upset Ohio State in the Outback Bowl. Terry Robiskie was the Redskins' interim head coach and supposedly a candidate for the real job. And the other candidates included every big name in the country: Bill Parcells, Steve Spurrier, Bill Snyder, Terry Donahue, Tyrone Willingham, Frank Beamer, Butch Davis, Mack Brown, Barry Alvarez, Gary Kubiak and yes, Lou Holtz, the man whose one NFL season had led to a 3-10 mark with the Jets.
"I have not talked with anyone with the Redskins, and I do not intend to," Holtz told reporters that winter, which would now appear to be false.
(The better nugget from that coaching search? "Spurrier told the Redskins he was not prepared for the daily grind an NFL coaching job demands," Mark Maske reported. They should have believed him.)
Anyhow, the Redskins hired Marty Schottenheimer on Jan. 4, 2001, but Holtz told Wise that Daniel Snyder had made a convincing pitch.
"I'll tell you what, listening to Dan Snyder [talk] about where he wanted to go, knowing Fred Smith etc, I have no doubt that they will take Washington to the top," Holtz aid this week. "You cannot have a commitment to win as strong as those people have without eventually it becoming fruitful."
Of course, the real reason Wise was interviewing Holtz on his 106.7 The Fan radio show was to again ask him questions about Vinny Cerrato, Holtz's former employee. The man will praise Cerrato in stronger words than anyone in the country, and he did so again when asked if Cerrato should keep his job.
"I know two of the owners that you have, Dan Snyder and Fred Smith, and I am a great fan of both of them," Holtz said. "I'll tell you, I think that they get criticized unjustly. And I think Vinny Cerrato, all I know about VinnyCerrato is he's smart, he works at it hard and nobody cares any more. And you cannot blame one guy for all the problems the Washington Redskins have had. It comes back down to the players, do you have the talent, etc.
"But Vinny Cerrato was with me, he's smart, ultra successful with the San Francisco 49ers, and he works as hard [as anyone]. Now you're gonna say all of the sudden he's not as smart as he once was? I'm a Vinny Cerrato fan, I will defend him, but yet at the same time I love your owners. They have to make whatever decisions they think necessary. But Vinny Cerrato, he can come work with me any time, I guarantee you he'll help take us to the top....
"The guy just is a winner. He can evaluate athletes, he works at it, that's his entire life. He did a tremendous job in San Francisco, and I'll tell you, I believe in Vinny Cerrato."
Of course, last time Wise interviewed Holtz about Cerrato, the coach said he was "the only guy that's written more books than [Cerrato's] read." Wise brought up that comment this week.
"When I wrote 'em, I used small words, so Vinny could read 'em," Holtz said.
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