Cooper visits White House as National Champ
Published 4:00 am Saturday, June 25, 2011
Former W.S. Neal Eagle and current Auburn Tiger football Jared Cooper added another highlight to his college career recently as his national championship team went to Washington to meet President Barack Obama.
Cooper and the 2010 national champion Auburn Tiger football team visited the White House and President Obama, and had a ceremony in the East Room.
During the visit, President Obama congratulated the Tigers of Auburn for their efforts on and off the field during their championship run and Tiger Kodi Burns presented President Obama with an Auburn football helmet and an Auburn jersey with Obama’s name on the back.
Cooper said he knew from the get go, the trip was going to be a there and back kind of trip.
“We just got up there and basically just did our thing,” Cooper said. “I wish we would have gotten to tour around a little bit more and look at a few different thing, but obviously with it being at the White House it is probably pretty complicated. They probably have a lot of protocol they have to go through.”
Cooper said while the trip was a quick one, the team got to tour around a little bit.
“We rode by the Washington Monument, and we actually got to get out at the Lincoln Memorial and take some pictures there, and that was pretty cool,” Cooper said. “I had never been to Washington D.C., before and I liked it a lot. I am a social studies major so everything up there is right up my alley. It was cool getting to see the Reflecting Pool and the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial.”
While the trip was one he liked, meeting the President was kind of surreal Cooper said.
“You have this grand picture in your head about what the White House is and then before you know it you’re right in the middle of it, and Obama is standing 10 feet away from you giving an address,” Cooper said. “It’s one of those things that doesn’t really hit you until you get back home. You’re like, ‘Wow, we were at the White House today talking to Obama.’ He didn’t get the chance to talk to each one of us. At the end of his speech he did come around and shake everybody’s hand, so that was really cool. There’s not many people who can say that they shook hands with the president.”
Cooper said meeting the President was pretty much like he saw in his head.
“I didn’t really expect him to be able to mingle a whole lot obviously,” Cooper said. “He is a pretty busy man and there is a lot of security things you have to go through and everything, but it lived up to the expectations. My favorite part of the trip was probably actually getting to shake his hand.
“Like I said, there aren’t a lot of people who can say that they shook hands with the president. That was a pretty cool experience considering all the things he has signed with that hand. It was pretty cool.”
In a team meeting Sunday night, the Tigers were awarded their BCS national championship ring, another national title ring and an SEC Championship.
Jamar Travis, another Auburn Tiger and former W.S. Neal Eagle, did not make the trip to Washington.
Robert Grant with the Auburn Media Relations department assisted with this article.