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Air Force Academy Football Team Honored By President Bush

Aired May 4, 2001 - 09:33   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: We are going to go live to the White House now: President Bush having a very sporting weekend. We can hear the music introducing the commander in chief. Behind him, you will see the Air Force Academy football team. They are there for the presentation of the Commander-In-Chief's Trophy.

That trophy goes to the service academy with the best sporting record. This is going to be a very active sporting weekend for the president. He has the Air Force Academy there now -- the football team. And he is going to have T-ball on the lawn of the White House later the weekend.

Let's go ahead and listen into the president.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Please be seated.

Well, good morning, thank you all for coming. It's my honor to welcome you all to the White House. I want to thank the generals who are here and the members of the congressional delegation that have come. Most of all, I want to welcome Coach DeBerry and the Fighting Falcons of the United States Air Force Academy.

(APPLAUSE)

It is my honor to present the Commander-In-Chief's Trophy which recognizes gridiron supremacy amongst our nation's service academies. The Falcon's record of success in service academy football is truly stellar. They've won this trophy 10 of the last 12 years, 14 times overall.

The seniors on this team completed their careers with a 37 and 12 record. It's the next best record of any group of seniors in academy history, and I want to congratulate you all.

(APPLAUSE)

I know you all take special pride in your coach. He's got an outstanding record as well. This is the 12th time in 17 seasons under Coach DeBerry that the Falcons have won the Commander-in-Chief Trophy. I thought it was interesting that the first time he brought his seniors to the White House was in 1986. Ronald Reagan was still the president. The Berlin Wall still stood. Windows were something that you washed. (LAUGHTER)

As Coach DeBerry reminded everyone at last year's White House ceremony, presidents come and go, but coaches do not have term limits.

(LAUGHTER)

Coach, a word of caution...

(LAUGHTER)

... winning this trophy is supposed to be a struggle, not a hobby. And the truth is, if you spend any more time in Washington, the folks back in Colorado Springs are going to start saying you're out of touch.

I love Coach DeBerry's motto: faith, family and Falcons. This is a man who has his priorities straight. And they must be, because he's not just recruiting football talent; he's recruiting character. He's not just recruiting to win football games; he's recruiting to win our nation's wars, if we have one.

These seniors know that conference titles, bowl victories and trophies are not nearly as important as the solemn oath they will take in just a few weeks as newest officers in the world's finest Air Force.

Today we honor the history that you've made on the playing field, but we look forward to even more of the history you'll make serving our nation. Coach DeBerry, if the past is prologue, I suspect, you too, will have a bright future. And you've got an opener next season with another team that recently visited the White House, the mighty Oklahoma Sooners. And my hope is that you try to soften them up a bit before they play the Texas teams.

(LAUGHTER)

But it is my honor to congratulate you, and congratulations in advance for the service you'll render to our fabulous nation. God bless.

(APPLAUSE)

FISHER DEBERRY, COACH, U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY FOOTBALL TEAM: Mr. President, thank you so much. Appreciate that.

KAGAN: We are listening to President Bush at the White House as he goes ahead and congratulates the football team of the Air Force Academy, presenting the Commander-In-Chief's Trophy -- this going to the service academy with "gridiron supremacy," as the president put it.

This is indeed a sporty weekend for the president. He has the Air Force football team now. He is going to have the Yankees, the 2000 world champions, in about the next hour -- and then on Sunday: T- ball at the White House. You will see it all here on CNN. TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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