Bowden, Stallings set to coach troops, football greats in Connect to Home Bowl Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Military service men and women are used to being guided by accomplished leaders so for an upcoming flag football game, two legendary coaches will be pacing the sidelines.

Former Florida State head coach Bobby Bowden will face off against fellow National Championship winning coach Gene Stallings as they prepare their teams for the Connect to Home Bowl. The event will take place at an undisclosed military base in the Persian Gulf and will combine troops and football greats like Jim Kelly, LaVar Arrington, Thurman Thomas and Jevon Kearse. The highlights from the game will be shown during halftime of ESPN’s broadcast of the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl on ESPN Jan. 1 and

“It’s very exciting … because there couldn’t be a better cause,” Bowden told The Associated Press. “My belief in our military and our men that are over there, what they’re going through, that’s what means as much as anything to me.”

This is the second consecutive year that Tostitos and the USO are teaming up for this event and the participation by Bowden’s son, Terry, who coached one of the squads last year in Iraq, got him interested in taking part.

"He told me it was a great experience,” Bobby Bowden said. “He wouldn’t trade anything for it. The closest I have come to something like this, which really is not close, is they used to invite college coaches over to Europe, to Germany and England, to put on coaching clinics at some bases. But nothing like this.”

USO President Sloan Gibson is excited that the event is taking place again this year.

“We are thankful to have the Tostitos brand as a returning partner to help create this unique college football experience,” said Sloan Gibson, USO president. “Last year, we saw firsthand how meaningful this experience was for the men and women serving our country overseas. It’s thrilling to see this becoming a cherished tradition that will now bring joy to even more troops as we help them stay connected to their families back home during a time of year that matters most, the holidays.”

Other players set to take the field with the troops are Rodney Peete, Zach Thomas, Andre Reed, Antonio Freeman and Ron Dayne.
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