Five coaches to visit military personnel

Updated: March 5, 2009, 6:12 PM ET
By Ivan Maisel | ESPN.com

Texas coach Mack Brown and Ohio State's Jim Tressel are among five FBS head coaches who have committed to travel to the Middle East to visit U.S. troops this spring on the second annual Under Armour Coaches Tour.

Head coaches Troy Calhoun of Air Force, Jim Grobe of Wake Forest, Rick Neuheisel of UCLA and Houston Nutt of Mississippi, and former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville also will travel on the tour, which will meet and greet American military personnel in Afghanistan, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

"It's a great opportunity," Neuheisel said. "When I get a note from someone overseas, they tell me they are pulling for UCLA and not to forget about [them]. It always seems as if their spirits are high. People are committed to the cause."

The tour is scheduled to depart McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, Kan., on May 28 and return to the United States on June 4.

Last spring, on the first tour, Tuberville joined Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis and three other coaches in panel discussions on bases throughout the Middle East, as well as aboard The USS Nassau in the Persian Gulf.

The coaches held a skills combine for the sailors on the deck of the Nassau. They also coached a flag football game between airmen on a U.S. Air Force base in the UAE. They gave out thousands of T-shirts, posters, hats and other memorabilia to the men and women, most of whom were the same age as the players on the coaches' rosters at home.

The trip is coordinated through Armed Forces Entertainment, a Department of Defense agency, and Morale Entertainment.

Senior writer Ivan Maisel covers college football for ESPN.com.

Ivan Maisel | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com