Scott Strasemeier: Navy’s associate athletics director for sports information is currently in his 21st year at the Academy. Read more
Brian Stann: A former Navy linebacker, Stann graduated in 2003 and went on to serve two tours in combat overseas. He received the Silver Star for his leadership in battle in Iraq. Read more
John Dowd: The senior offensive guard for Navy is a native of Staten Island, N.Y., and was 11 years old on 9/11. On Sept. 11, 2010, Dowd ran onto the field for a game against Georgia Southern carrying an American flag that had previously been flown over special-operations bases in Afghanistan, raised at the World Trade Center site, and will be returned to Ground Zero for the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Read more
Ben Bertelson: The junior baseball student-athlete and management major at Air Force was in his fifth grade classroom in Midland, Texas, when the events of 9/11 occurred. Read more
Andy Berg: The current assistant men’s ice hockey coach at Air Force was a junior at the Academy during 9/11. Read more
Randee Farrell: Farrell was the senior captain of the Army women’s soccer team in 2001. She currently is a marketing officer for the university and the officer representative for the women’s soccer team. Read more
James Flowers: Flowers was coach of the Army softball team when the events of 9/11 occurred. He retired from the athletics department in 2009 and witnessed his recruits take on a greater sense of purpose and a greater pride wearing the West Point uniform. Read more
Charles Wynne: The current director of image management and strategy at the NCAA national office worked for the public relations staff for the U.S. Air Force. Wynne was at the Pentagon on 9/11. Read more
William Walker: The vice director of athletics at Air Force is also a 1983 graduate of the Academy. Read more
Brian Lorusso: Senior Cadet Brian LoRusso grew up on Long Island and was barely a teenager on Sept. 11, 2001. He is the captain of the Army lacrosse team that also includes his younger brother, Larry. His two older brothers, Nick and Kevin, also played on the team. The international and comparative legal studies major will graduate a second lieutenant and, depending on where he is stationed, could see combat. Nick and Kevin have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, respectively. Read more
As the nation prepares to acknowledge the 10th anniversary of 9/11 this Sunday, NCAA.org asked select student-athletes and staff from some of the Association’s service academies about how the tragic events of 2001 affected their lives.
Student-athletes either from the graduating class of 2002 or 2003 talk about the immediate impact of 9/11, and current student-athletes who will be graduating now after the death of Osama bin Laden reflect on 10 years of post-9/11 life. Also, staff who were at their schools 10 years ago offer their perspective on both then and now.
Flowers was coach of the Army softball team when the events of 9/11 occurred. He retired from the athletics department in 2009 and witnessed his recruits take on a greater sense of purpose and a greater pride wearing the West Point uniform.
The 2002 team was the best team we ever had. So you got some pretty fine young women – well, they were all fine young women – but the women from that class had a lot of success along with going through that tragedy of 9/11.
Our young people, they were always focused, but once they saw how quick things could turn around in our lives and how quickly one event could do it, they really buckled down. There’s no question that (after 9/11) – and it continues today – our young people are a little more focused on where they’re going and what they want to do.
I don’t know if it had an impact on us playing softball, but the ability to focus on the task at hand, you know, we upped that ante. It did change our lives, tremendously, throughout this country. It wasn’t just at West Point.
Right after 9/11, you looked up at the sky more often. You looked at the planes flying in more often. Our whole lifestyle changed. This event got everyone’s attention, not just those that had an interest in history. This got everyone’s mind on what we’re all about.
Recruiting was not as difficult after that because everyone clearly understood what they were facing and what they were focusing on. We concentrated on that effort and talked about reality, and there was no dreaming of aspirations of anything other than going in and serving this nation. Particularly with the women I felt very strongly that they had a goal and a focus to serve this nation in some aspect following 9/11. When you would talk to the families and talk with the prospective candidates, there was no question. They knew, clearly, what they needed to do, what they needed to be involved in.
The Cadets that are coming to West Point, they know what they are getting into and they want to be able to serve this country. Athletics is just another way with which they can express their desire to serve and compete with a team member.
We discussed their obligations openly. There were questions that parents asked after 9/11 that they wouldn’t have asked before, but the bottom line is that you were up front and you were as honest as you could be. We told them how we really felt and what our experiences were and what they could anticipate happening to them. It didn’t make any difference if you were going to any of the services because everyone is going to serve this nation and they’re going to serve it with a lot of pride.
That’s what I also noticed. Young people came in with their heads up, shoulders back and were very proud of putting that uniform on – they always were – but more so now than ever.
There was a greater sense of purpose.