Our 42nd president, President Bill Clinton, was in town Monday to speak to Fayette County students at Rupp Arena. While he was here, he wanted – and we wanted him – to meet the team.
Mr. Clinton stopped by just after lunch and met in our locker room at the Joe Craft Center. The players had a chance to introduce themselves and take individual pictures with the president before we took a team picture with him.
What really meant a lot to me is the fact that he said he had never seen a group this talented that played so well together as a team. He said, “Problems in the world and problems in the United States can only be solved by teamwork. That’s it. This team has taught us the lesson that the higher the mountain, the more the team must be connected.”
After he spoke to the team, he and I met in my office with my staff. He saw a picture of the two of us that I have on my office wall that we had taken in 2002, and then he looked at me he said, “This job does age you, doesn’t it?” He and I then talked about a book that I’ve read about Abraham Lincoln and a book that I’m reading about Teddy Roosevelt, both of which he’s read.
Lastly, we gave him a framed poster signed by our team and staff and some other national championship Kentucky gear. Before he walked out the door, he and I took a picture of the 1994 ball where our UMass team beat his beloved Arkansas Razorbacks by many, many points. He reminded me that that Arkansas team went on to win the national title, but I reminded him that I once again took my foot off the gas or it would have been more than 24!
Today may have been one of the most rewarding, enjoyable hours that I’ve had in a long time. I’m so happy our guys got to enjoy such a unique experience.