“I would be proud to call him my son”: Lou Holtz shares memories of Phil Petty

COLUMBIA, S.C. — When Lou Holtz  was tasked with turning around the Gamecock football program in the early 2000s, Phil Petty was the man under center.

Petty helped lead the Gamecocks to back-to-back wins over Ohio State in the Outback Bowl in 2000 and 2001 after the program went 0-11 in 1999.

Even 20-plus years after his time as a Gamecock ended, Petty still sits eighth in program history with 5,652 passing yards, and 10th with 28 passing touchdowns.

But when Holtz remembered his former quarterback Thursday morning, the stats and accolades were secondary. He remembered the person that Petty was off the field.

“He was a great player, but also a better teammate,” Holtz said. “I would be proud to call him my son, he lived his life in an exemplary way. He cared about other people.”

Holtz remembers that Petty especially cared about the other guys in that locker room with him, and showed tremendous leadership as the quarterback of the Gamecocks for three seasons.

“It didn’t matter if you were a first-team or a third-team, he treated you exactly the same,” Holtz said. “He was just a positive influence wherever he went.”

Following his time at South Carolina, Petty went on to coach as an assistant at Hammond with his former teammate Erik Kimrey, then coached at East Carolina for Lou Holtz’s son Skip. He recently accepted a job to come on staff at Gray Collegiate last month.

Categories: Local Sports, Sports, USC Gamecocks