ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Saturday marks 20 years since the attacks of 9/11, college football will be doing its part to recognize the lost lives during that tragedy. Recently we caught up with our three area FBS college coaches about what they were doing at the time of the attacks. Virginia Tech head coach Justin Fuente was in his first year as a college coach as an assistant coach at Illinois State. Virginia head coach Bronco Mendenhall was an assistant coach at New Mexico. Liberty head football coach Hugh Freeze was head high school football coach for a private school in Memphis, Tennessee.
“How shocked I was when the buildings came down. When I was watching it, it really didn’t cross my mind that it would happen. Obviously the fire, with what was going on how terrible it was. When the first building came down. I went immediately to the thoughts of the people who were probably rushing into the building to save the people currently in the building. It did take such a terrible thing for us to see past all of our differences and get along a little better,” said Fuente.
“It just added perspective. So much during the season seems to be football first, and everything else really of significance seems to just take a backseat. I work hard and our program works hard to make sure there’s relative balance. Sometimes it takes a pretty significant event to have you just stop for a second and try to put things in priority again and to remember, I would say to anchor, to identify the things that are truly important,” said Mendenhall.
“I just couldn’t believe what was happening and we watched it unfold on TV. It was kind of the shock that our nation was under attack. Right here on our own soil. That was certainly sad. So many families hit them with the tragedy on that day. Obviously America responded and defended her honor,” said Freeze.