Notre Dame Football Head Coach 3rd Season Progress Reports: Lou Holtz

Gerry Faust helped to flatten the 3rd season report card curve for Notre Dame football head coaches after Dan Devine posted an A+ National Championship. But now Lou Holtz is next up on the docket. Spoiler: Curve busted.

The 1988 season was Lou Holtz’s third year as head of the Irish football program. At this stage, he was 27% through this 11-season career in South Bend. Of the three coaches we’ve reviewed so far, Holtz had the strongest 3rd season (from a strictly quant perspective).

The team tallied up twelve wins and finished the 1983 season undefeated. Their biggest victory came via a +45-point rout of Purdue. A close runner up was the +43 win over Rice. Notre Dame’s closes games that season were a +1 win over the Miami Hurricanes and a +2 win over the Michigan Wolverines.

Holtz’s third season was capped off by a National Championship title which came by way of a 34-21 Fiesta Bowl victory over West Virginia. It’s hard to ask for better 3rd year evaluation results from a coach. Doing this analysis has really provided me with two important things:

  • A ton more context on just how strong Notre Dame’s run during that period
  • Better data cuts to use in arguments with ND skeptics. And yes, 95% of those are initiated by me.

Cheers and Go Irish!!

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