Remarks on Greeting the 1988 National Collegiate Athletic Association Men's and Women's Basketball Champions
now let's bring on the NCAA basketball champions of Louisiana Tech and the
You know, when I was a boy my nickname was ``Dutch.'' Looking at all of you, I sort of wonder why it wasn't ``Shorty.'' [Laughter] Come to think of it, being here with you reminds me of one of my experiences in college. It was freshman year and just after the football season ended. And after playing football, I thought I might go out for basketball, too. I went to the gym, and I saw a few people just about your size, and thought to myself, ``I think swimming is the sport for me.''
But to the women of Louisiana Tech, congratulations! You had a lot of great games this season, but none was greater than the last one. With the Lady Techsters trailing 33 to 19 at halftime, coach Leon Barmore found himself telling his team, ``You don't quit in anything. You don't quit in life. No matter what happens, be proud of your efforts when it's over so you can live with yourselves the rest of your life.'' ``Any other game when we'd be behind by that many points,'' forward Erica Westbrooks said, ``we'd be all upset. This time we kept thinking that it had to be in us. We had to keep digging and finding it within ourselves.'' Well, Coach, Erica, and all of the Lady Techsters -- you found it. And I just have a certain feeling that you're going to be able to live with yourselves pretty darned well.
go as well to coach Larry Brown and the
And perhaps nothing exemplifies the true meaning of teamwork than the support you've all given to Archie Marshall and the untiring support Archie Marshall has given to you. In my opinion, that's just the way it should be. As the soft-spoken Danny Manning said to a jammed room of reporters after the final game: ``I'd like for you guys to put this in your articles. For anyone who's ever been in a national tournament like this, keep your head up and work hard and anything can happen. To those who said it couldn't happen -- well, we're number one.''
And to coach Larry Brown, the man who did so much to make this a championship season, I know Jayhawk fans everywhere are rejoicing that, next year, I'm the only one moving back to California.
they're both great stories, the stories of these two teams, these two fighters
who happened to turn themselves into national champions. And if I could offer a
thought to each of you young players, it would be this: Remember the lessons
you've learned this season, the lessons about hard work and never quitting,
about digging down into yourselves when you seem to be behind. Because what
you've learned in basketball will be a strength to you
all your lives. Especially here, in this great land of
opportunity. Because it's true, if you keep your head up and work hard
So again, congratulations on your exciting victory, and God bless you all. And have you thought about a game between -- [laughter] -- all right, God bless you.
Note: The President spoke at in the Rose Garden at the White House.