NCAA football coaches visit 13th SC(E)

Story and Photo by Spc. Naveed Ali Shah
13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Public Affairs

JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq — National Collegiate Athletic Association football coaches visited Soldiers with the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) May 28 at Joint Base Balad, Iraq.

The coaches, visiting from various colleges across the United States were University of Oregon head coach Chip Kelly, University of Illinois head coach Ron Zook, Harvard University head coach Tim Murphy and U.S. Military Academy head coach Rich Ellerson.

The tour, sponsored by the United Service Organizations and Morale Entertainment, visited Ramstein Air Base, Germany, The Kingdom of Bahrain, the USS Eisenhower and several locations in the Iraq theater of operations.

Soldiers with the 13th SC(E) turned out in droves to get their memorabilia autographed by the coaches and gain insight into some of the minds that drive the popular sport through every season.

First Lt. Sean Devine, a mobility plans officer with the 13th SC(E) and a Geneva, Ill. native, prepared a list of football questions for each coach.

“This is a great opportunity to just get their thoughts on college football,” Devine said. “It’s a dream come true, just to meet these guys you see every Saturday on the sidelines.”

For many of the Soldiers, the chance to meet the Army football coach was about more than just football.

“It’s so cool for them to come out here,” said 1st Lt. Beth Sutey, the theater backlog officer for the 14th Transportation Battalion, 13th SC(E), and a 2007 graduate of West Point.  “When I was in school, I never missed a game “

“For the Army coach to come out here is huge,” said Sutey, a Fairfax, Va., native. “For the coach to see his players and cadets, and see where their careers took them is great.”

For Ellerson, Army’s head coach, the visit held a special meaning.

“My situation is a little bit different as a football coach,” he said. “I’m learning to tell this story. I have to articulate about the game, but also about the ultimate destination, which for most of my guys is here in Iraq or Afghanistan.”

 

news photo
U.S. Military Academy head football coach Rich Ellerson (right), speaks with Soldiers of the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) May 28 at Joint Base Balad, Iraq, during the National Collegiate Athletic Association Coaches Tour 2010, sponsored by the United Service Organizations and Morale Entertainment. The tour brought coaches from the University of Illinois, the University of Oregon, Harvard University and USMA to visit Soldiers in Europe and the Iraq theater of operations. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Naveed Ali Shah)

news photo
Harvard University head football coach Tim Murphy (seated), speaks with Soldiers of the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) May 28 at Joint Base Balad, Iraq, during the National Collegiate Athletic Association Coaches Tour 2010, sponsored by the United Service Organizations and Morale Entertainment. The Soldiers had the chance to get autographs and talk football with the men they watch on the sidelines every Saturday on television. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Naveed Ali Shah)

news photo
University of Illinois head football coach Ron ZooK (right), speaks with 1st Lt. Sean Devine, a mobility plans officer with the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) and Geneval, Ill., native, May 28 at Joint Base Balad, Iraq, during the National Collegiate Athletic Association Coaches Tour 2010, sponsored by the United Service Organizations and Morale Entertainment. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Naveed Ali Shah)