NCAA Football Champions at the Whitehouse
Now, it’s my honor to welcome back the Lady Trojans volleyball team from USC. (Applause) They did pretty well this year. They were 35-0. (Laughter) Last year, I had the honor of welcoming my friend Mick Haley here at the White House.
See, Mick used to coach the University of Texas volleyball team, and I used to work out at the gym there, and he used to come over and give me pointers all the time about how to strengthen up and look a little better. My advice is when you see the governor of California, he doesn’t need many pointers, Mick. (Laughter)
Mick’s a good man. He coaches a group of great ladies who are, in fact, national champs. I asked how many of them are coming back next year. Of course, one of them asked if I was. (Laughter) But he has a lot of returners for next year, and this group of champs is welcome here at the White House anytime. Thank you for coming. (Applause)
Then we honor Coach Anson Dorrance’s UNC Tarheel women’s soccer team. (Applause) Anson’s got a pretty good record. He’s coached for 25 years, and he’s won 18 national championships. That’s the sign of a good coach who knows good talent and knows how to mold everybody into a good team. This year they were 32-0. When I had my honor of having my picture taken with the team, I asked, what was the closest match, closest game. One of the ladies said, it was 3-0. That’s a heck of a team; 32-0 and the closest game is 3-0. UNC gets a lot of attention for its basketball team, but let me remind you of what the legendary Coach Dean Smith said. He said, “UNC is a women’s soccer school.” And once again, these ladies have proven Coach Dean Smith correct. Welcome back. (Applause)
Jerry Yeagley is here with the Indian Hoosier men’s soccer team. He’s been with the Hoosiers for three decades, and in those 30 years, they have won six national titles. (Applause) He retired last fall with 544 wins, more than any coach in NCAA Division I history. Coach Yeagley, we’re proud of you, we’re proud of the team you’ve brought here, we’re proud of your dedication to athletics. I want to thank you for working so hard to teach the young men of your teams the difference between right and wrong and how to play as a team. Today, we honor your coaching career, at the same time we honor the great Indiana Hoosier soccer team. Welcome. (Applause)
These are impressive athletes behind me, but I think if you really look beyond the athletics, you’ll find some decent and compassionate people as well. These athletes, in the most part, understand they have a responsibility to uphold to the communities in which they live. They understand it’s one thing to be a champ on the field, it’s another to be a champ off the field, by setting the right example for some youngster who is wondering what it means to be a champ.
By setting good messages about right and wrong behavior, and by volunteering in their community, the USC football team makes a trip to the USC Children’s Hospital every year to visit patients and to give gifts and to sign autographs. You know what they’re doing? They’re bringing some sunshine into somebody’s life, is what they’re doing. The LSU football players visit hospitals, and they teach elementary school children how to read. They’re taking their talents off the football field and putting them in the classroom, so some child in Louisiana has a chance to realize a better life.
The USC women’s volleyball team raised money and participated together in the Race for the Cure for breast cancer research. They took their athleticism and put it into practice to help save somebody’s life. The UNC soccer team is helping to build a Habitat for Humanity house near the campus. They’re using their God-given talents to make sure somebody has a place to live. And finally, the Indiana soccer players volunteer as coaches and mentors for youth soccer teams in Bloomington, Indiana.
All these players have understood it’s important to serve something greater than yourself in life. They learned to do so by working together for a team, and they’re learning to do so by making the community in which they live a better place for every citizen. It is my honor to welcome true champs here to the White House. I congratulate you for your hard work. I wish you all the best for the—whatever the future may hold. God bless you all. (Applause)
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