Falcons bring home Commander-in-Chief's Trophy

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Raymond Hoy
  • U.S. Air Force Academy Public Affairs
President Barack Obama formally presented the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy to seniors from the Air Force Falcons football team April 18 at the White House.

The trophy is awarded to the military service academy football team with the best regular season record against the other two teams. The trophy was first awarded in 1972 by President Richard Nixon. It was the brainchild of Gen. George B. Simler, the then-commander of Air Training Command and former Air Force Academy athletic director.

And while the Falcons won the trophy this season, it's the first time they've had it home since the 2002 season.

"What a great day to celebrate an outstanding accomplishment," President Obama said. "The Commander-in-Chief's Trophy is heading back to Colorado Springs for the first time in more than eight years."

The president lauded the team and their accomplishments, but was quick to point out the dedication of the players not only on the field, but off the field as well. He also reminded the crowd that the team is preparing for the next stage of their Air Force careers.

"I'm told that offensive lineman Tyler Schonsheck has had to lose over 40 pounds since the end of the season so he can fit in the cockpit of a fighter jet," the president said. "Now, that's dedication. He's a big guy."

Head coach Troy Calhoun reiterated the president's comments about the players' dedication when he reminded everyone of the senior class's next big step.

"In just 37 short days, these men will become officers in the United States Air Force," Calhoun said. "I'm proud of their actions on the field, but I couldn't be more proud of what they are going to do down the road."

The Naval Academy has held the CIC Trophy for the last seven seasons, and while the Air Force has the shortest military academy football career, it still leads the way in CIC-trophy wins with 17.

Two team members, defensive back Reggie Rembert and fullback Jared Tew, presented President Obama with gifts: a team football and a Falcons jersey with "OBAMA" on the back. But the number had a special significance.

"We were going to put number one on it, but everyone does that," Rembert said. "Then we were going to put number 44 on it, but the Navy did that last year so we decided that would be a bad idea. So we went with number 23, which was the number the President wore when he played basketball in high school."

"And I just want everyone to know that was before Michael Jordan," the president added with a laugh.