Dave O joins the USO to visit US troops in the Persian Gulf


Greensboro, N.C. — Guilford College alumnus Dave Odom ’65 returned Monday from a one-week trip to the Persian Gulf where he joined seven other college basketball coaches and sports personalities in “Operation Hoop Talk: Talking Hoops with the Troops.” The United Service Organizations (USO) sponsored the tour as part of its sports series that features Operations Links, Gridiron and Hardwood. Each series takes knowledgeable sports figures to visit troops and offer insider tips. The group of coaches hosted free clinics, signed autographs and posed for pictures with United States troops serving in Afghanistan. Before leaving from Washington, D.C., Odom and the others visited injured troops at Bethesda Naval Hospital and the Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

“Being able to bring a touch of home to the men and women who serve our nation, so far from their own homes, is an amazing opportunity,” said Odom, who participated in his third USO event. “This tour gave us a way to connect with our military fans. It was a great thing and I was honored to participate.”

Odom returned to Guilford last November as a part-time assistant to Guilford President Kent Chabotar. He retired as a college basketball coach in 2008 with more than 400 head coaching wins, three NIT titles and 15 NCAA Tournament appearances in 22 seasons with East Carolina, Wake Forest and South Carolina. The 2009 North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame Honoree was national coach of the year in 1995 and a coach of the year in the Atlantic Coast and Southeastern Conferences.

In addition to Odom, the touring party included former University of Virginia coach Pete Gillen, American University coach Jeff Jones, National Basketball Coaches’ Association Deputy Executive Director Reggie Minton, Manhattan College coach Barry Rohrssen, University of California-Davis coach Gary Stewart, DePaul University and former UNC Wilmington coach Jerry Wainwright and former Boston University coach Dennis Wolff.

The USO delivers a special brand of entertainment and comfort to service men and women around the world in times of peace and war. In 2008, celebrity entertainers traveled to 27 countries and 23 states and entertained more than 236,000 troops and families.

Dave Walters
Guilford College Athletics