|The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
February 23, 2006
Mrs. Bush's Remarks at a Screening of "Glory Road"
Eisenhower Executive Office Building
8:52 A.M. EST
MRS. BUSH: I'm so excited to have the chance to invite basketball teams from around the D.C. area and their coaches to come meet this team, the 1966 NCAA basketball champions from Texas Western College. They were the first all-black starting basketball team. And that was 40 years ago, 1966. You'll be amused when you watch the movie and you see the lines that, "blacks can't play basketball." (Laughter.)
But anyway, I would think it's important for you all to hear their story. This is a movie, and so not all of it is true. But this is a true story about a basketball team, about men with character, about a coach who took a lot of risk at the time to put on the court a whole black team. And it's a really exciting story, as well.
I want to thank Wan Kim, the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. Thank you very much for co-hosting this event with us. Thanks to Dan Glickman, the President of the Motion Picture Association of America, and to Richard Bates of Disney for making this possible to see the movie today. And a special thanks to Sheila Johnson from the Mystics. Thank you very much for joining us here.
And of course, the heroes of the story are all behind me -- 40 years later you can see what they look like. These are the members of the -- (laughter) -- they're really very young -- members of the 1966 Texas Western championship team.
I had a really close tie to Texas Western. I actually went to summer school there in 1965, so I would have overlapped with a lot of them. My mother went there to college -- it was Texas College of Mines when she went there -- Mines and Metallurgy when she went there, and then Texas Western when I went there and they went there. And it's now the University of Texas at El Paso. But that's why they're called the Miners, because it had been the Texas College of Mines before it became Texas Western.
I want to introduce the coach and the players that are here with us. There's Assistant Coach, Moe Iba, who is with us. (Applause.) And then the players: Jerry Armstrong, Orsten Artis, Lou Baudoin, Willie Cager, Dick Myers, Togo Railey, Nevil Shed, Willie Worsley, David Lattin, Eddie Mullens, Fred Schwake, Steve Tredennick. (Applause.) And I'll just tell you before you watch the movie that Bobby Joe Hill died in 2002. His widow was with us last night -- Tina. I don't know if she's here today -- and his daughter. But you'll get to hear his story. And when the team had their picture made last night at the White House, they had a photograph of Bobby Joe Hill to put in the picture, and you'll see how important he is to the story.
The coach, Don Haskins, is still alive. He lives in El Paso, Texas. He was planning to come, and then his health took a little turn for the worse, so he was not with us last night. But you'll see in the movie how important he is to this whole story. But we're very glad that Josh Lucas, who played Coach Haskins, is here with us. (Applause.)
"Glory Road" -- the movie, "Glory Road," is a reminder to all of us of how times have changed, and to each step in the story of our history as Americans, and certainly in the story of civil rights and equal rights for all people. And so I'm so excited to be showing it to all of you.
Coach Haskins was special because he didn't let bigotry stand in the way of what he chose to do for his team and for his college. And the choices a coach make, all of us know, affect the lives of their players, and the choices that players make affect the team. A team is like a family, and what's really interesting to me, and actually very moving, is that after 40 years, these men still act like brothers to each other.
The best teams work together and support each other so that everyone can succeed, and coaches often become like another mom or dad, someone you can turn to for advice and encouragement on and off the court. And, in fact, in surveys that ask young people, especially young men, who had the most impact on your life, first, of course, they say their parents, but then a huge number of them say a coach next, that a coach made a difference in their lives.
So I want to thank all the coaches who are here who help young people in every part of their lives. And I want to challenge all the players who are here to think about how much your coaches have meant to you, and then to try to be a good role model to those coming up behind you. I hope some of you will actually choose to be coaches and teachers for your career.
So thanks very much. I'm so glad you're here, and now here's the movie, "Glory Road." (Applause.)
END 8:58 A.M. EST