Tuberville Meets With President

A report with photos on the Auburn head football coach's overseas tour is featured.

Tommy Tuberville met with President George Bush on Memorial Day as the Auburn coach wrapped up a tour to visit American servicemen in Europe and the Middle East during the past week.

Tuberville, who called the tour an "experience of a lifetime," was one of five college football coaches who volunteered to make the trip. He was joined on the tour by Randy Shannon of Miami, Mark Richt of Georgia, Jack Siedlecki of Yale and Charlie Weis of Notre Dame.

Tommy Tuberville right is shown in the White House after the coaches met with the president on Monday.

The coaches left from Scott Air Force base near St. Louis last Tuesday and flew to Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany to start their tour by spending time with wounded servicemen in hospitals there.

They then flew to the Middle East, visiting with servicemen in a variety of countries there as well as visiting U.S. Navy personnel aboard ships.

Tuberville said he had the chance to talk to literally thousands of servicemen in the past week and was honored to be able to take part in the tour.

Tuberville gets a tour of a Navy CH-53 helicopter from pilot and Auburn graduate Mickey McCullough before leaving for the USS Nassau on Friday.

The trip is the first of its kind in bringing college football coaches to meet with troops. It is sponsored by Under Armour in association with Armed Forces Entertainment and Morale Entertainment.

Tuberville (right) talks with Ike Stutts of Decatur, Ala., on the deck of the USS Nassau, an aircraft carrier the coaches visited.

While visiting the USS Nassau, the coaches held an NFL style combine for servicemen who wanted to test their football skills. Tuberville said he was a fun event.

"We had a little combine for some troops who signed up to run 40-yard dashes and cone drills on the deck of the ship," he said. "We timed them and we gave awards out--Under Armour T-shirts or hats to show them we appreciated them."

Airman Bryan Blackler is shown running a 40-yard dash on the USS Nassua.

Tuberville said he really enjoyed hearing what the servicemen had to say. "I think the most productive moments for us when we could sit at the table (during meals) and listen to them talk and let them ask question. It was on-going from daylight to midnight every day. We tried to give them as much as our time as we possibly could."

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