Sept. 11 memories will create heavy emotions in Air Force-Navy game, Navy coach says
Sept. 11 memories will be front and center at least for parts of the game on Saturday between Navy and Air Force, particularly in the pregame lead up to kickoff.
Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo discussed the game atmosphere he expects this week during a visit to SiriusXM.
“I think it’s going to be really emotional, because with everything involved, seeing our guys run out with the uniforms that basically look like Marine Corps uniforms,” he said. “But to run out with that, we’ll all have American flags. Obviously we’re playing our rivals, and we’ll want to beat them. But just everything. The magnitude of the rivalry, the magnitude of 9/11, the magnitude of wearing a uniform to represent the Marines and all of the armed services is, I know it’s going to be emotional because you just feel proud to be an American.”
He added that while there are things said about the country, it’s not perfect, but it’s still the greatest in the world.
The game is set for 3:30 p.m. ET on CBS on Saturday, and it’s the third time the two schools have played in September and the earliest they have ever met. They normally meet the first Saturday in October, the Associated Press reported. The game was originally scheduled for Oct. 2.
“We will use this nationally televised opportunity to reflect on the meaning of our freedom and the competitive spirit of our nation,” Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk said in a statement. “Two service academies coming together to display our strength of unity and our determination to forever persevere.”
Air Force athletic director Nathan Pine called it “an appropriate move for our country.”
Saturday marks the 20th anniversary of 9/11. For @NavyFB and @AF_Football it will not be just another rivalry game.
@NAVYCoachKen tells @BrockHuard and @BenHartsock how special and emotional the day will be #BuiltDifferent pic.twitter.com/E9SamRVQrX
— College Sports on SiriusXM (@SXMCollege) September 10, 2021