Lou Holtz's mother, Anne Marie, who worked the night shift to pay her son's college costs, has died at a nursing home in East Liverpool, Ohio. She was 82.
The woman had exploratory surgery in August, and the South Carolina coach had gone to visit her. She had had kidney and heart problems and was under care in a nursing home.
"There's no way you ever prepare for this day," said Holtz, who coached the Gamecocks in their 20-3 loss to No. 4 Florida on Saturday.
Holtz says he'll leave Sunday night or Monday morning for his hometown. The funeral services are Tuesday. Arrangements were handled by Holtz's friend in East Liverpool, Digger Dawson.
After the game, Holtz spoke softly and slowly about his mother. He remembered how he wanted to work in the steel mill coming out of high school, while she and his father wanted him going to college. "So we compromised and I went to college," Holtz said.
While at Kent, Holtz said his mother worked nights as a nurse's aid to raise money for his tuition and costs. "I thought about it so many times," he said. "The only way you can repay your parents is trying to do something that is worthwhile."
The death is another in a series of family heartaches for Holtz during his first season with the Gamecocks. His son and offensive coordinator, Skip, was hospitalized for a viral infection in September. Holtz's wife, Beth, had surgery to remove glands that were suspected to be cancerous last month.
Neither Skip nor his mother will join Holtz at the funeral.
"My wife and I had that argument last night," Holtz said.
He said doctors told him his biggest worry should be his wife trying to do too much too soon. Beth Holtz is recuperating at the couple's home in Orlando, Fla., although she joined her husband in Columbia this week and plans to stay through Thanksgiving.
Skip, as he did last month during his mother's surgery at the Mayo Clinic, will assume his father's duties in Holtz's absence.
"Both of us cannot be gone in fairness to the players," the coach said.
Holtz looked very warn after his trying season. Besides his family troubles, his Gamecocks have gone 0-10 the longest losing streak of his career in Holtz's first season back in coaching since he retired from Notre Dame three years ago.
"This has not been easy," he said. "It's a sad day. But at least I got somebody else up there politicking for me."
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