Photo: President Obama honored Air Force for its 2014 season.
President Obama honored Air Force's football team Thursday at the White House for winning the 2014 Commander-in-Chief's Trophy..
"This was quite a season for the Falcons," Obama said. "But my favorite thing about the Air Force and all the academies who come here, it's not just that they win but how they win. Last year they had the highest graduation rate in the conference. Coach recruits guys with at least a 3.5 high school grade-point average. His Cadets give back to their community and obviously, ultimately they give back to their country."
The Falcons defeated Navy 30-21 at home at Falcon Stadium and Army 23-6 at on the road at Michie Stadium as part of a 10-3 season that concluded with a win over Western Michigan in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl in Boise. The season was a bounce-back from a 2-10 record in 2013 for head coach Troy Calhoun, an Air Force graduate and former NFL coach. Air Force won the trophy for the first time since 2011 after Navy had claimed it in 2012 and 2013.
Air Force coach Troy Calhoun noted it was the 19th time Air Force has won the CIC Trophy and presented the President with a No. 19 Air Force jersey rather than the traditional No. 1
Tradition has it that the seniors from the winners of the C-i-C Trophy travel to the White House to be honored. That included starters such as quarterback Kale Pearson; offensive linemen Patrick Noyes, David Jones and Michael Husar; defensive linemen Tony Timmerman, Nick Fitzgerald and Spencer Proctor; linebacker Jordan Pierce, and defensive backs Jordan Mayes, Christian Spears and Justin DeCoud; and kicker-punter Will Conant.
The President noted he honored Air Force on the 70th anniversary of the end of fighting in Europe in World War II.
There are a couple of notes to highlight on the difference between Air Force's trip to the White House from the recent visit by the New England Patriots for winning the Super Bowl.
The President didn't have any deflategate jokes to tell or a need to make other references to a winning team bending and breaking the rules. And, unlike New England quarterback Tom Brady, Air Force's quarterback was in attendance at the White House -- not to mention standing at attention.
--- Tom Shanahan has featured Army, Navy and Air Force athletes for nearly 30 years in the San Diego Union-Tribune, Rivals.com and the Raleigh News and Observer. He attended his first Army-Navy Game after John Feinstein wrote in his book on the rivalry, “A Civil War,” everyone should attend the Army-Navy Game at least once. Air Force players will remind you their games with Army and Navy are big, too.