Lou Holtzdoes NOT want his beloved Notre Dame to drop its "Fighting Irish" nickname ... claiming it stems from a group of students who battled the KKK back in the day.
One tiny little problem -- it's not exactly true, Lou!
Here's the deal ... the former ND football coach was on Fox News this week and was asked about a recent "Fansided" article which questions if the school should move on from the whole "Fighting Irish" thing -- which it calls "a stereotype of the violent Irish."
83-year-old Holtz was OUTRAGED by the mere suggestion -- and told this tale explaining the origin of the Fighting Irish name.
Legendary former Notre Dame Coach Lou Holtz on reconsidering the "Fighting Irish" name:
"They were named the fighting Irish because the Ku Klux Klan tried to attack the Catholics. They went down and fought the Ku Klux Klan and that is where the name the Fighting Irish came." pic.twitter.com/Nd9pmcmpDY
"They were named the fighting Irish because the Ku Klux Klan tried to attack the Catholics," Holtz said.
"They went down and fought the Ku Klux Klan and that is where the name the Fighting Irish came."
That's news to Notre Dame -- which states on the official school website, "No one really knows for sure how Notre Dame became universally linked with the Irish."
"All we have is conjecture. But that’s the Irish way, isn’t it? Never let the truth get in the way of a good story."
There are several theories ... but nothing is really concrete.
The University says the first use of the nickname may have been in 1909 -- stemming from a fiery half-time speech directed at the football team's Irish players.
Notre Dame also noted the media had referred to Knute Rockne's football teams as the "Fighting Irish" in the early '20s.
The school does acknowledge an incident involving a student clash with the KKK in 1924 ... but it seems unlikely to be the origin of the nickname. Here's what ND says ...
"A little-known event occurring in 1924 may have inadvertently contributed to Fighting Irish lore. In a recent book, alumnus Todd Tucker describes how Notre Dame students violently clashed with the anti-Catholic Ku Klux Klan in that year. A weekend of riots drove the Klan out of South Bend and helped bring an end to its rising power in Indiana at a time when the state’s governor was among its members."
Doesn't matter to Lou though -- who's made his stance clear and warns that he'll REALLY get pissed if the cancel culture reaches his tribute at the school's stadium.