El Paso’s Cathedral High School disinvited legendary NCAA football coach Lou Holtz as their 90th-anniversary gala guest speaker for describing immigration as an invasion and opining that immigrants need to learn how to assimilate better.
Inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2008, the 79-year-0ld icon served as the head coach for six NCAA football teams including Notre Dame and the University of South Carolina, compiling a career record of 249–132–7.
Last Month at the Republican National Convention, during a luncheon celebrating the GOP nomination of real estate mogul Donald Trump, Holtz referring to immigrants remarked:“I don’t want to speak your language, I don’t want to celebrate your holidays, I sure as hell don’t want to cheer for your soccer team.”
According to the El Paso Times, Holtz confessed, subsequently, that he wishes he never made the comment.
Wednesday the president of the Council of Presidents at Cathedral, David Saucedo, confirmed in an email that the beloved coach and TV football analyst would not be speaking at the October 20 school gala and fundraiser.
Luis Villalobos, a 1963 graduate of Cathedral High School, claims that the alumni did the “right and courageous thing” by reversing their August 18th decision to invite Holtz. In a letter to the editor of the El Paso Times, he wrote: “Public figures have to know, even during this election time, their words have consequences. They can speak before a very enthusiastic crowd, but they can’t say things that are insulting to any group, whether it be a minority group, women or whatever group they are railing against.”
Villalobos believes that the two-time winner of the Paul “Bear” Bryant Award took the “wrong road” when he made the comments about immigrants.
“Imagine the impact the coach’s words would have had if he had spoken about inclusion or if he would have spoken about being merciful and accepting of all people in this country and instead of dividing, uniting people? His comments would have been incredibly impactful,” Villalobos opined.
An editorial by the El Paso Times applied pressure on the Cathedral alumni when it stated that the high school’s leaders “made an unfortunate decision” by picking Holtz to speak at the gathering geared to raise funds for future scholarships. “Holtz is a highly successful football coach, but his hateful words last month run counter to many of the principles that have made Cathedral such an important part of the El Paso community,” the paper stated.
Tuesday, the day before he rescinded the invite to Coach Holtz to share his words of wisdom at the fundraiser, President Saucedo expressed a different point of view in a letter to the Times: “[T]he negative, vitriolic response to Coach Holtz from some in our community has been shocking and is, equally, unbecoming. ” He added, “It’s difficult to persuade, or at least attempt, to change one’s mind on immigration if you immediately shun them. We love the concept of free speech, up until there is disagreement, then we are quick to slander and smear those individuals.”