Lou Holtz and Jesse Helms? Creepy, man, creepy. And there were consequences:
… A few years later, after Holtz had left for Arkansas, Helms looked to trade in on the favor, and asked Holtz to appear in a television campaign advertisement for his re-election to the U.S. Senate.
Here’s how Holtz explains it in his autobiography, “Wins, Losses and Lessons”:
“When he ran for the U.S. Senate … Jesse asked me to do an ad for him. I did, but when I got home, I felt uncomfortable. The politics of football is tough enough; injecting myself into a Senate race didn’t seem to make a lot of sense. So I called Jesse and told him how uncomfortable I felt. He understood, and the ad never aired.”
According to authors Orville Henry and Jim Bailey, who wrote the book “The Razorbacks: A Story of Arkansas Football,” Holtz’ support of Helms didn’t sit well at a Deep South school like Arkansas, still struggling to move past southern college football’s dark legacy of racism.
“Lou’s old friend Jesse,” they explain, “was conducting a one-man filibuster against the establishment of Martin Luther King Day while the Arkansas staff was calling black mothers trying to recruit their sons.”
Soon afterward, Arkansas athletic director Frank Broyles called Holtz into his office and fired him. Holtz claims he wasn’t given a clear reason, but speculates in his autobiography that his filming of a Helms campaign ad factored strongly into the decision.