MISSION FIRST: Profiles In Army Athletics

Nov. 27, 2013

The following foreword, written by Army Director of Athletics Boo Corrigan, explains the cultivation and execution of creating Mission First. Stories will be added on a daily basis beginning Monday, Dec. 2.

Since our arrival at West Point more than two years ago, my family and I have been overwhelmed by the tremendous sense of duty that envelopes West Point.

Goodness surrounds the United States Military Academy, from the professors to the Army officers stationed here to the civilian workers all joining together to form a cohesive team that supports the wonderful Corps of Cadets, who are the lifeblood of these hallowed grounds. As athletic administrators our mission is quite simple ... "To provide an extraordinary Division I athletic experience that develops leaders of character committed to the values of Duty, Honor, Country."

Duty, Honor, Country.

Three simple words that carry an immensely powerful meaning. Together they form much more than a motto, much more than a slogan. No, for West Pointers, Duty, Honor, Country is a way of life.

Daily examples can be seen everywhere you turn ... you can see that spirit in the action in the officers, you see that spirit in the enlisted personnel assigned here, you see that spirit in our coaches, and you can see that same spirit in the eyes of every young man and woman that don the sacred dress gray.

Inspirational stories can be found in almost every corner of this installation and occur daily, both and off the fields of friendly strife.

This book, so appropriately titled, Mission First, attempts to capture a few of those individual stories of inspiration. Heartwarming accounts of cadet-athletes, coaches, administrators and supporters all placing the fortunes of others far ahead of their own personal desires. These are the faces of West Point. More specifically, these are the faces of Army Athletics.

So often we measure success by the final statistical account of a particular game, match or invitational. We know that winning is important to our mission. We understand and accept that responsibility. After all, we are in a scorekeeping industry and wins and losses matter a great deal or we wouldn't keep score at those events.

But we must also take time to reflect on those greater victories that take place far away from any playing field or arena, well removed from any scoreboard. We must make it a point to focus on those special triumphs that are not defined by goals, baskets or runs scored, but rather calculated by the smiles and tears of joy associated with goodness.

College sports and the Army are in the people business and we must never lose sight of that. The 19 stories captured here are representative of many of the members of the Long Gray Line that have passed through West Point's athletic department and helped to generate those bright numbers on scoreboards throughout their careers as a cadet. But more importantly, these 19 individuals have contributed so much more that transcends athletics, that crosses cultural lines and ultimately make this world of ours a better place. We are so proud to be able to call them our own and privileged to have the opportunity to share their unique stories.

Here at West Point, we are very fortunate to be wrought with amazing feats of selfless service, endless examples of a current or former athlete or administrator placing the mission before all else. In fact, it was challenging to whittle the lengthy list of possible stories under consideration for our inaugural edition of Mission First down to the ones you see chronicled here.

West Point is a place unlike any we've ever been, and quite honestly, unlike any we could have ever imagined.

We hope you enjoy reading some of these wonderful accounts half as much as Kristen, myself and our three children enjoy living them each and every day.

Go Army!
Eugene F. Corrigan, Jr.
Director of Athletics