Pat Fitzgerald surprises Wildcats with Navy SEALs training day
Posted by: Chris Vannini on August 20, 2012
Syracuse won't have a military advantage when it faces off against Northwestern on Sept. 1, so to speak.
While Syracuse spent a week of fall camp at Fort Drum, Pat Fitzgerald surprised his team Friday with the arrival of three Navy SEALs, who ran the Wildcats through a rigorous training day.
"We never actually heard what was happening," safety Ibraheim Campbell said. "We came to a meeting and thought it was going to be a talk on teamwork from some guy in the SEALs. But then we started doing pushups in the meeting and we realized it was more. Then he told us we had 15 minutes to get dressed and head to the buses for the beach. That's when we realized it was a lot more than we anticipated."
The next day, Northwestern ran an 80-minute scrimmage. School president Morton Schapiro and Board of Trustees member and former chairman Pat Ryan spoke to the team afterward. Does the Ryan name sound familiar? That's because Ryan Field and Welsh-Ryan Arena are named after him. Fitzgerald was sure to acknowledge the generosity and support that has helped his program.
What did Ryan want to talk to the team about? Not just the success on the field, but off it, as well.
"He just talked about how proud the university is of the program. To be the No. 1 football program academically in the country is something we strive for and take pride in," Fitzgerald said. "He's been part of this program for seven decades and to see where we're at today, kind of in our heyday but not totally satisfied with where we're at, is what's so exciting.
"To hear him say we have 100 percent backing from the Board of Trustees, those are pretty strong statements. We know that, and for the guys know that, is something really special. We're thankful for the support."
Here is a video of the Navy SEALs training.
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Chris Vannini is a lead writer for CoachingSearch.com and has covered Michigan State sports for The State News, The Oakland Press and MLive.com. He writes a weekly column for the Detroit Free Press on behalf of SB Nation. Vannini lives in Big Ten country, so his foot speed is far from SEC caliber, but his pulse on coaches is hard to match. Be sure to follow @CoachingBuzz on twitter and send your feedback to email@example.com