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.
Navy’s associate athletics director for sports information is currently in his 21st year at the Academy.
When 9/11 happened, I think it was obvious to everyone who went to school here that they were going to war. There’s always that chance when you come to a service academy -- obviously they all serve a minimum of five years – but on 9/11 it really hit home that when they graduate they’re definitely going to go to war. And all the students who have come since then, they’ve willingly come here knowing that they were going to go to war.
I think that’s an amazing statement for anyone who has attended any of the service academies, that they’re willing to come here to get a great education and serve their country, knowing that when they graduate that there’s a good chance they’re going to be sent into theater. You never saw any trepidation. I think people were like, “This is why we’re here.” And obviously the country was angry about what happened, and patriotism was at an all-time high. And all the students were like, “This is what we came here for. This is why we’re going to become officers in the Navy and the Marine Corps.” No doubt about that. They knew that they could make a difference.
We played Boston College, it was our first football game after 9/11. We were supposed to play Northwestern that Saturday (after 9/11) and that game was canceled. So the next Saturday we played Boston College, and that game is definitely on my list as one of the top 10 games I’ve seen at Navy. We lost the game and it wasn’t one of our best years, but just the patriotism and the feeling in the stadium, getting everyone back to normalcy, it was definitely a memorable game. And Boston College was coached by a Naval Academy grad in Tom O’Brien. Just a special feeling in the stadium that Saturday.
Obviously, the Army-Navy game was even at another level. President Bush visited both locker rooms before the game, and I remember Ed Malinowski, the team captain and quarterback, presenting him the football in the locker room before the game. That was definitely memorable as well. Patriotism was at an all-time high nationwide, and obviously the Army-Navy game is America’s greatest college football game. It just shone a spotlight bigger on it that year, and it’s been like that ever since. That Army-Navy game, people focused on it even more because they realized what these young men and women are going to do after they graduate.
I don’t think it’s changed at all. I think our coaches have seen, football-wise, our recruiting has taken off. Obviously we’ve been very successful in football and have had great seasons, but I think there are a lot of people out there who want to serve and want to make a difference and want to be a leader. I know our coaches, when the SEALs got bin Laden, our football coaches were on the road recruiting and they said the response was incredible at all the high schools they were at. One of our coaches was down in Florida and he had a Navy shirt on, and when he walked into the courtyard area, he got a standing ovation. And this is just an assistant football coach. But he had Navy on his shirt.
Every time I see one of our sports teams standing for the National Anthem, it gives me chills. Just knowing what these young men and women have decided to do and what they’re going to go on to do, it’s a really special feeling to be a part of, to work at a service academy and work with these young men and women. The National Anthem to me brings it home no matter what the sporting event. Every game.