Introduction: College Sport and Presidents
It’s no secret that college sports are an important part of American culture. From the NCAA Division I championship football games to the NCAA’s March Madness basketball tournament, college sports capture the attention of the nation. But, have you ever considered the connection between college sports and the presidents of the United States?
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Although the vast majority of U.S. presidents have not had direct involvement with college sports, several of them have — either as players, coaches, or boosters. In this article, we’ll take a look at which presidents played college sports, how they were involved, and what impact they had on the college sports world.
Presidents Who Played College Sports
It may come as a surprise to some, but four U.S. presidents were college athletes. Theodore Roosevelt, Gerald Ford, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush all played college sports during their undergraduate years.
Theodore Roosevelt is the only president to have played a competitive college sport. He attended Harvard University, where he played on the varsity rowing team. Roosevelt was a member of the team for three years and was captain in his senior year.
Gerald Ford was a star football player for the University of Michigan. He was a center and linebacker for the Wolverines and played on two national championship teams. Ford was also a member of the boxing team and was named the “most improved” boxer in 1933.
George H.W. Bush
George H.W. Bush was a member of the Yale University baseball team. He played first base and was captain of the team in his senior year. Bush was also a member of the university’s cheerleading squad.
George W. Bush
George W. Bush was a cheerleader at Yale University, just like his father. He was also a member of the school’s baseball team, although he did not play in any games.
Presidents Who Coached College Sports
In addition to those four presidents who played college sports, there are two presidents who have served as coaches at the college level.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower was the head coach of the football team at the United States Military Academy at West Point from 1925 to 1926. Eisenhower was hired as the head coach following his retirement from the Army. He led the team to a 9-0-1 record during his two-year tenure.
Jimmy Carter was the head coach of the men’s basketball team at his alma mater, the United States Naval Academy. He served as the head coach of the team for the 1951-52 season, leading the Midshipmen to a 10-10 record.
Presidents Who Were Boosters
Several presidents have had a more indirect involvement with college sports, serving as boosters or supporters of their alma maters.
John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy was a passionate supporter of Harvard University athletics. He served as the class president for four years and was a member of the Harvard Crimson varsity swimming team. Kennedy also served as the president of the Harvard Athletic Association and was a member of the Harvard Varsity Club.
Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon B. Johnson was a devoted supporter of the University of Texas, his alma mater. He attended all of the football games and was a big fan of the Longhorns. Johnson also served on the Board of Regents of the University of Texas and was a generous donor to the school.
Richard Nixon was a passionate supporter of the football team at his alma mater, Whittier College. He attended all of the home games and was a regular in the school’s alumni section. Nixon also served as a trustee of the college and was a generous donor to the school.
Presidents Who Were Supporters of College Sports
Although they weren’t directly involved in college sports, several presidents have been strong supporters of college athletics.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt was a strong supporter of college sports. He was a big fan of the Army-Navy football rivalry and attended many of the games. Roosevelt also served as a member of the board of trustees of Columbia University and was a generous donor to the school.
Ronald Reagan was a passionate supporter of college sports. He was a big fan of the USC Trojans football team and was a frequent attendee of their games. Reagan also served on the board of trustees of Eureka College and was a generous donor to the school.
Barack Obama was a strong supporter of college sports. He was a big fan of the North Carolina Tar Heels basketball team and was a frequent attendee of their games. Obama also served on the board of trustees of Columbia University and was a generous donor to the school.
Conclusion: College Sports and Presidents
It’s clear that college sports have a deep connection to the U.S. presidency. Four presidents have played college sports, two have coached college sports, and several have been supporters of college sports. From Theodore Roosevelt to George W. Bush, the presidents of the United States have had a long and varied involvement with college sports.
- Theodore Roosevelt is the only president to have played a competitive college sport.
- Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush were football players in college.
- George W. Bush was a cheerleader and baseball player in college.
- Dwight D. Eisenhower and Jimmy Carter were college football and basketball coaches.
- Several presidents, from John F. Kennedy to Barack Obama, have been supporters of college sports.
The U.S. presidents have had a long and varied history with college sports, and this history is an important part of the nation’s culture and identity. The presidents’ involvement with college sports serves as a reminder of the importance of college sports in American culture and the role that the presidents have played in shaping that culture.