5 Minutes with Army Football Coach Rich Ellerson … at West Point

August 26, 2011 – In addition to my Five Minutes with Rudy Giuliani interview, there will be two question and answer pieces with college football coaches in the upcoming September issue of Yankees Magazine.

Those coaches are Greg Schiano of Rutgers and Rich Ellerson of Army, and the two field generals have something in common.

They will be leading their respective teams into Yankee Stadium on Nov. 12.

Yankees Magazine associate editor Nathan Maciborski interviewed Schiano during the inaugural Pinstripe Bowl Charity Golf Tournament in May, and that feature is a must-read.

On Aug. 18, I traveled to picturesque West Point, where I interviewed Ellerson in his office, which sits on the campus of the United States Military Academy.

Ellerson, who was unable to lead his team to victory in the first football at Yankee Stadium, shared his thoughts on how this year’s game in the Bronx will be different from Army’s 27-3 defeat to Notre Dame in 2010.

“Nothing we did before that game prepared us for that stage,” Ellerson said. “I was relatively familiar with the infrastructure and the grounds of Yankee Stadium, but we didn’t handle that big stage very well. We will use that experience as a learning opportunity. We’re not going to be overawed when we play there this season. That setting is spectacular, but we plan to use it as a source of energy as opposed to a distraction.”

I also spoke to Ellerson about the many service men and women he is surrounded by at the most prestigious military institution in the world. Ellerson discussed the sense of pride he believes those young men and women have in defending our country in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

“I’m with a unique group of young men and women at West Point, but I’ve spent the last 30-plus years going into high schools, and I sense that this generation is more focused on service and more focused on doing something extraordinary with their lives,” Ellerson said.I think this generation is different in a positive way, and I believe the tragic events of 9/11, and the conversations and self-awareness that stemmed from those events are a big part of that evolution.”

–Alfred Santasiere III

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