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Dec. 19, 2003

Columbia, S.C. – Since his arrival to Columbia and the University of South Carolina five years ago, Lou Holtz has had a significant impact on the Midlands community. His name recognition has generated an enormous amount of positive publicity for the University of South Carolina. He has led the Gamecock football program to a pair of New Year’s Day bowl victories and he is in the process of building a championship-caliber team at Carolina. Coach Holtz’s contributions to this community stretch far beyond football however, and Friday’s announcement that the City of Columbia’s Winter Homeless Shelter will now bear the name of the Beth and Lou Holtz Homeless Shelter is just one example of the imprint he has had since he became the Gamecocks’ head football coach.

Through their generosity as being the largest single contributors to the Homeless Shelter, Columbia Mayor Bob Coble declared Friday as Beth and Lou Holtz Day, presenting the head coach with keys to the city for his charitable donations to the facility, which is located at 1929 Hampton Street.

“From this day forward, this facility will be known as the Beth and Lou Holtz Homeless Shelter,” said Mayor Coble at a Friday morning press conference. “Coach Holtz and his wife, Beth, have played an instrumental role in the development of this home. I’d like to personally thank Coach Holtz and Beth for all they do for this community. His name recognition and appeal encompass the globe and Coach Holtz is certainly a big part of the Renaissance that is taking part in Columbia right now.”

The shelter, which is in its fourth year of operation, is sponsored by the city along with the Cooperative Ministries and Homeless Commission. It opened on Nov. 10 and will remain open until at least March 20 of next year. Operating hours are 6 p.m. – 7:30 a.m. daily. Guests must register for a bed by 10 p.m. More than 200 people utilize the shelter each night with more than 7,000 guests staying at the shelter last year.

“Coach Holtz is a living example of an individual who is responsive to those who are in need,” said USC athletics director Mike McGee. “This is a terrific way for the city and University to work together and strengthen one another.”

Coach Holtz said he and his wife were humbled by the announcement.

“I want to thank all of the people who are involved with this worthwhile project and who give of their time and effort,” said Coach Holtz. “They are the true heroes. My wife and I have been involved with the homeless shelter ever since our days at Notre Dame. I did not want this facility to be named after us. But, after visiting with the mayor, he explained the importance of having a name recognition, which may provide other people with the desire to contribute to the shelter.”

“Sometimes, when a person is really down, they look around and see someone who needs help more than they do,” continued Coach Holtz. “Believe me, the last month and a half, it’s been hard to find anyone more down than myself. It’s amazing all of the people who use this shelter. They truly deserve your help, your understanding and your care.”

Carol Khare of the Cooperative Ministries, believes Coach Holtz’s visibility in the community can only enhance the shelter’s mission.

“After touring our facility with Coach Holtz and his wife, it was clear that they understand the importance of this shelter,” said Khare. “The Holtzes are making a statement that there are many individuals in this city who need our help and they are taking a stand in leading the way towards providing care to these people.”