Holtz hall honorees examples of motto

The Lou Holtz Upper Ohio Valley Hall of Fame dinner and induction ceremony for 2015 was a success precisely because of the man the famous coach and football analyst is.

The man who embodies the region’s values of working hard for success, of rising above circumstances to achieve, faced the need to be supported and to enlist a little help from his friends. Holtz did not attend the 2015 gathering of notables in his name because he and his wife, Beth, faced the loss of their home from a lightning strike and subsequent fire the day before the event.

As a testament to the man the coach is, former player and friend Jerome Bettis stepped in to fill the coach’s role at the banquet. Bettis has maintained a man-of-the-people image despite success that has led all the way from Heinz Field to an upcoming induction in Canton to the NFL Hall of Fame. He was a great choice to speak to the crowd at St. Florian Hall.

Keynote speaker Steve Blass, the Pirates broadcaster and 1971 World Series pitcher, is a near perfect example of the humility – and ability to rise above adversity – that is a hallmark of Holtz and the inductees to Upper Ohio Valley Hall of Fame during the past 17 years. A gentleman who hit the peak of success in his field and fell from mound glory within two years, Blass has remained in the hearts of Pirates fans because of the man he is – humble, gracious, self-effacing and intelligent, an elder statesman for the Bucs and baseball.

The 2015 inductees, including NBA great John Havlicek; insurance-selling legend Ben Feldman; Reno DiOrio, who guided the Linsly School through some of the most wrenching changes in its 100-year history; and Tim McCoy, who rose from videographer to the general manager’s job at WTOV-TV, all embody hard work, rising above circumstances and concentrating on achievement. The 2015 Family Heritage Award was presented to the Rensi family, with roots in little Hopedale in Harrison County and branches that spread to the highest offices at McDonald’s corporation and NASCAR, while the Do Right Award was presented to Ridge Quarles, a young man who did not hesitate when a disabled customer at the Qdoba where he worked in Kentucky needed assistance eating her dinner.

Holtz lives by a three-pronged motto: Do the right thing, do the best you can and always show people you care. The class of 2015 for the hall is a continuation of those three points.

And, the ceremony taking place even amidst personal adversity for the coach and his wife is a testament to his life and his ability to find those qualities in others.