NCAA Champions Day at the White House

President Welcomes NCAA Fall National Champs to White House

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all for coming. Behave yourself up on the balcony. (Laughter) That would be you. This is champions’ day here at the White House, and it is my honor to welcome some great champs. We are proud you’re here.

I want to thank those who represent the universities. Here present: James Moeser, the chancellor; and Dick Baddour, the athletic director of the University of North Carolina. We appreciate you being here. Mike Garett, who is the athletic director of the University of Southern California, is with us today. And Bill Jenkins, who is the president of LSU, along with Roger Ogden, who is the chairman of the LSU board of supervisors and Skip Bertman, who is the athletic director, we’re proud you’re here.

As you can probably see, we’ve got some members of the United States Congress with us here today, and there seems to be quite a large and vibrant delegation from the great state of Louisiana. (Applause) Sen. John Breaux and Mary Landrieu are with us today. (Applause)
Mighty Tiger fans Richard Baker and Jim McCrery and Chris John and Rodney Alexander, thank you all for coming. We’re proud you’re here.

From California, Cong. Chris Cox and Dianne Watson are with us today. Thank you all for coming. (Applause) Congs. David Price and Mike McIntyre from North Carolina are with us as well. Thank you all for being here. (Applause)

First, it’s my honor to recognize the football cochamps this year, LSU and USC, fantastic group of athletes and teams that battled to the end. Any good team obviously requires good players. These teams have got good players, but it also requires really good coaches. Pete Carroll and Nick Saban are two of the finest coaches in the United States. We’re glad you’re here. (Applause)

There was quite a lot of discussion about who really was number one. My attitude is the South Lawn is a pretty good size. (Laughter and applause) Never mind. (Laughter)

I appreciate the class of these two programs and the grace they demonstrated under pressure. Both schools, LSU and USC, are, in fact, national champs. And we’re proud to call you national champs. (Applause)

Obviously, in order to be a national champ, you’ve got to field fine players at every position. I particularly want to say something about USC tailback Reggie Bush. (Applause) Where is he? His teammates call him the “President.” (Laughter) “President Bush.” You must feel pretty comfortable here at the White House, “President Bush.” (Laughter)

I also want to say one other word about an individual who is not with us today, and that is Jeff Boss, who was the equipment manager for 24 years for LSU. Last October, he died from cancer. The Tigers named their locker room in Jeff’s honor, and they kept his family in their prayers throughout the season. You all know, and I know, that Jeff would be incredibly proud of the fact that LSU won its first national championship in 45 years. May God bless Jeff and his family, and may God bless both the USC team and the LSU football team. Thank you all for coming. (Applause)

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