Tim Murphy, the Thomas Stephenson Head Coach for Harvard Football, is embarking on a week-long journey overseas to speak with men and women of the United States military as part of the Coaches Tour 2010. The purpose of the trip is to essentially provide service men and women with a break from the rigors of active duty while providing a temporary outlet of something sports-related.
Murphy is joined on the trip by Oregon head coach Chip Kelly, Illinois coach Ron Zook and West Point head coach Rich Ellerson. Murphy and Kelly were recently guest lecturers at the USC Coach of the Year Clinic at The Galen Center Pavilion in Los Angeles, Calif.
Murphy contributed periodic updates about the trip and the final installment is below.
We arrived home at Andrews Air Force Base in Washington, D.C. after a long set of flights home. It has been a great experience and the epitome of a whirlwind tour. In nine days we have covered 20,000 miles, eight Bases in six countries on three continents as well as two warships. We accomplished the trip on very little sleep and with almost no passports.
As coaches we often use military and war analogies, probably to a fault. But on this trip we have found that within the military the reverse is true as well. There is a consistent reference to sport and the most common theme is TEAMWORK. On the Flight Line the F-16 Pilots are the "stars." But they are the first ones to tell you that they are only as good as, and as effective as their maintenance, ordinance, intelligence and, communication "teammates."
I think it is appropriate that we end up back in Washington, D.C. on Memorial Day. More than anything, I have come back with a deep respect for, and appreciation of our brave men and women in the armed services. Whether Army, Navy, Marines or Air Force they are incredibly professional, competent and extraordinarily dedicated to serving and protecting our country.
On the flight back from Balad Air Base in Iraq on a C-130 cargo aircraft, we brought back the bodies of two Marines killed in Afghanistan. Their bodies will come to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. It is a grim reminder that their job, to serve and protect our country comes with danger and sacrifice and that regardless of our individual politics, the brave men and women of our armed forces deserve our unwavering respect, admiration and support.