Why White House visits by champions are a U.S. tradition

ByThomas Neumann Via <a Href="http://espn.go.com/" Title="espn" Class="espn_sc_byline">espn </a>
March 01, 2016, 9:13 AM

&#151; -- University of Connecticut women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma has a bedroom in the White House.

Wait. What?!

Auriemma and the Huskies have visited the executive residence with such regularity that President Barack Obama apparently suggested making the Hall of Fame coach a tenant.

"He's been in office seven years, and we've been there five," Auriemma said. "He said that I have my own room in the White House. I have my own bedroom in the White House."

Surely, the president was just kidding. We think. But perhaps Auriemma should at least have his own parking spot.

The University of Alabama football team is scheduled to visit the White House on Wednesday, marking its fourth trip to Washington in seven years. Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban also visited in March 2004 with his LSU Tigers championship team.

But few, if any, sports figures have visited the White House as often as Auriemma. He has guided UConn to 10 NCAA national championships, and the team has visited the White House after nine of them. (Scheduling issues prevented the team from attending in 2000.) This season, the Huskies are 29-0 and well positioned for their fourth consecutive title and another trip to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Obama and the two presidents who preceded him are avid sports fans, and Auriemma has a story about each of them.

On Bill Clinton: "He got his picture taken individually with every single person in the travel party. It was unbelievable."

On George W. Bush: "He's got a daughter named Jenna, and so do I. I said, 'Hey, raising a 16-year-old daughter is a lot harder than being president, isn't it?' He just turned around and said, 'You got that right.'"

On Obama: "He loves the game. He loves the kids and what they represent and makes it a point all the time to talk about the players and what they mean to his daughters as role models."

So as the Crimson Tide again heads to Washington, let's look back on some of the history and wacky moments of sports teams visiting the White House over the years:

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