ORLANDO, Fla. -- Former Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz is mulling a run for Congress in Florida as a Republican, a GOP strategist said Tuesday.
Holtz could decide in the next several weeks whether to seek the
central Florida congressional seat held by Democrat U.S. Rep.
Suzanne Kosmas, the GOP strategist said, requesting anonymity because
he is not authorized to talk about the matter.
Holtz, 72, has never run for office. He has worked as
an analyst at ESPN since retiring from his last coaching stint at
the University of South Carolina at the end of the 2004 season.
Holtz is the only coach to guide six schools to a bowl game, and
he led Notre Dame to its last national championship in 1988. He was
elected to the College Football Hall of Fame last year.
A call to Holtz's home in Orlando was not returned Tuesday
ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz wouldn't go into the specifics of
Holtz's contract and how a run for public office would affect his
"Each situation is different and it's pretty much speculative
at this point what it would mean, but he tells us that he is
committed to ESPN," Krulewitz said.
Republican leaders in central Florida were surprised that Holtz
was considering a run for the seat because he hasn't been involved
with the local party, said Lew Oliver, chairman of the Orange
County Republican Executive Committee in Orlando.
"I doubt sincerely that 90 percent of the people who live in
that district have heard the name before," Oliver said. "It would
be different if the guy was named Bob Griese or Don Shula, or
someone with Florida connections."
Three other Republicans -- two state legislators and a local city
commissioner -- already plan to run for the GOP nomination.