Fort Worth, Texas, April 15, 2010 – The Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl has reached an agreement with the United States Military Academy, providing the Black Knights a chance to play in the 2010 post-season bowl game. Army would join the company of other military institutions who have agreed to participate in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl with the United States Air Force Academy having participated in the past three games and the United States Naval Academy scheduled for the 2013 contest.
Army, which has a 2-2 record in post-season bowl games with appearances in the 1984 Cherry Bowl, 1985 Peach Bowl, 1988 Sun Bowl and 1996 Independence Bowl games, now has the opportunity to earn a berth in the 2010 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl. The bowl is currently slated to feature a team from Conference USA (C-USA) opposing a club from the Mountain West Conference (MWC). Should either conference have an opening amongst its lineup of contractual bowl agreements at the end of the 2010 regular season, Army would then have the opportunity to compete in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl, if bowl eligible.
“We are very excited to announce this agreement with the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl,” said Army director of athletics Kevin Anderson. “Brant Ringler and his staff have quickly grown this game into one of the premier post-season events annually. We couldn’t be more supportive of the ideals of this bowl and hope to represent our servicemen and servicewomen in the highest manner possible, both on the field and off. The Army football program and West Point as a whole boasts a vast and loyal fan base in Texas and the surrounding states. I would expect our fans and graduates to show up in droves to support their team in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl.”
If the open bowl berth for either C-USA and/or the MWC materializes, the Black Knights must have six wins prior to their annual game with Navy (Dec. 11, 2010) in order to secure their spot. The 2010 Army schedule features home games with Hawai’i, Temple, Air Force, Yale and North Texas State. Cadet road games will be at Eastern Michigan, Rutgers, Kent State, Duke, Northwestern and Louisiana Tech with neutral site contests against Notre Dame and Navy.
“We are extremely pleased to have positioned our bowl to host the United States Military Academy in our 2010 game,” said Brant B. Ringler, executive director of the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl. “Having our nation’s military academies participate is natural for our bowl and is extremely popular with our fans, as was proven the past three years with sellouts featuring the U.S. Air Force Academy.”
Bell Helicopter president and chief executive officer, John L. Garrison, echoed the enthusiasm of possibly adding the Black Knights to the mix, “We’re thrilled at the potential to see West Point compete in this year’s bowl,” said Garrison. “We look forward to the opportunity to welcome the Black Knights and their many fans to their first appearance at the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl.”
The Black Knights of the Hudson fell one game short of bowl eligibility in 2009 under first-year coach Richard Ellerson. Army won the 1944 and 1945 national championships under Earl Blaik and featured 37 consensus All-Americans and three Heisman Trophy winners, including Doc Blanchard (1945), Glenn Davis (1946) and Pete Dawkins (1958).
Army has played 18 football games in the state of Texas, including the 1988 Sun Bowl where the Black Knights dropped a 29-28 decision to Alabama in El Paso. The Cadets are 7-11 for games played in the “Lone Star” state and have a 3-3 record in the metroplex with two wins at North Texas, a victory at SMU and three setbacks to TCU at Amon G. Carter Stadium.
Owned and operated by ESPN Regional Television (ERT), the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl has featured a military theme since 2006. Patriotic overtones recognizing all five branches of the military are prevalent throughout the game. Past Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowls have included fan-fest areas showcasing military hardware; flyovers; demonstrations by several of the military’s top skydiving teams; on-field induction ceremonies; military bands and honor guards; and the awarding of the annual “Great American Patriot Award” (GAPA) presented by Armed Forces Insurance. In 2009, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, accepted the GAPA at half-time on behalf of the men and women of the armed forces. Previous recipients include General David H. Patraeus, Preston “Pete” Geren and Gordon England.
Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. company, joined the bowl on August 23, 2006 as the title sponsor of the post-season college football game formerly known as the PlainsCapital Fort Worth Bowl (2003, 2004) and the Fort Worth Bowl (2005). 2006 marked the first year for the adoption of the “Armed Forces Bowl” name, making the official title the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl. Bell Helicopter has exercised its option for title sponsorship of the game twice. The current agreement was signed September 2009 to continue the sponsorship for the 2010 and 2011 games with a two-year option for 2012 and 2013.
Ticket information for the 2010 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl will be released later this month and can be obtained by calling the bowl office at 817/810-0012. Military veterans receive discounted tickets and active-duty personnel receive free admittance via the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl corporate military ticket underwriting program.