March 30, 2010

Coaches Tour again set to visit troops overseas

It's a journey that changed Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt's life.

That's the only way he can describe his trip overseas as part of the "Coaches Tour 2009."

"I couldn't believe all of the brave men and women we met during our tour," Nutt said. "I was very impressed and proud. To see the sacrifices that so many are making really moved me and made me appreciate how lucky I am."

Past participants

Coaches who have taken part in the previous Coaches Tours.

Mack Brown, Texas, 2009

Troy Calhoun, Air Force, 2009

Jim Grobe, Wake Forest, 2009

Rick Neuheisel, UCLA, 2009

Houston Nutt, Ole Miss, 2009

Mark Richt, Georgia, 2008

Randy Shannon, Miami, 2008

Jack Siedlecki, Yale, 2008

Jim Tressel, Ohio State, 2009

Tommy Tuberville, Texas Tech, 2008-09

Charlie Weis, Notre Dame, 2008

This May, for the third consecutive year, the "Coaches Tour" will travel overseas to visit American troops. Armed Forces Entertainment and Morale Entertainment, along with the USO, stage the event.

Rivals.com and Yahoo! Sports have been chosen to be a part of this year's tour, filling reports along the way. The coaching participants will be announced April 2.

The 2010 Coaches Tour will depart from McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, Kan., on May 23. There will be a brief stop at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois before the Tour heads overseas with the first stop being Ramstein Air Base in Germany. The Tour returns to the United States at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on May 31.

"We are scheduled to visit at least eight countries in nine days," said Tour organizer Mike Whalen of Morale Entertainment. "The Coaches Tour has touched over 40,000 troops to date. It is anticipated that the 2010 edition will provide the opportunity to meet and interact with 15,000 to 20,000 service members during our mission this year."

The schedule of daily events includes autograph and photo sessions with the coaches. There also will be panel discussions with the coaches, meet and greet opportunities, flag football games, as well as skill competitions and athletic combines.

As in past tours, the coaches will distribute donated athletic apparel and university-branded items from the schools and sponsors associated with the Coaches Tour to troops overseas. Additionally, American Airlines will provide passenger vouchers to outstanding members of the armed services in gratitude for their service to the United States.

Tom Dienhart is a national senior writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at dienhart@yahoo-inc.com.


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