Former coaches Slocum and Franchione reflect on relationships with President Bush

BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) -- Former Texas A&M head football coaches R.C. Slocum and Dennis Franchione both had a personal relationships with President George H. W. Bush after he left office and made Aggieland one of his retirement homes.

"He felt a real connection with A&M. He thought that A&M represented a whole lot of things that are good and wholesome and noble about the state of Texas and the United States of America," said R.C. Slocum.

Mr. Bush made an impact on the United States with not only his involvement in politics and government, but also by the way he lived his daily life.

The most powerful man in the world at one time never lost sight that we are all important.

This past spring R.C. remembered a story about President Bush's kindness when he, 41 and two of the President's friends had breakfast before a golf outing several years ago.

"Shortly after we sat down this elderly African American lady came over an announced that she would be waiting on our table. A lesser man would have likely have said, 'Yeah we want coffee. Bring us all coffee,' and would have kept on talking. I watched him stop everything he was doing at the table. He turned and directed his full attention to that lady and said, 'How are you doing today mam? It is so good to see you and appreciate so much you coming to take care of us. We'd like some coffee, but how are you doing? Do you have family?' It was so engaging," said Slocum. "But that's him!"

Coach Slocum knows his relationship with the President would have never happened had it not been for library being here and he put it in perspective that all Aggies can relate to.

"Other than letting girls in Texas A&M, one could argue that the best thing, single best thing that happened at A&M has been when President Bush decided to put his library here. I think it has brought so much national and international attention to Texas A&M," added Slocum.

While President Bush enjoyed attending sporting events at Texas A&M and frequented many a practice. Coach Slocum felt like Aggie athletics might have taken a back seat to one very special group on campus.

"He loved everything to do with Texas A&M," said Slocum. "He loved the corps every bit as much as he loved, maybe more than he did athletics. He was just so proud of this campus and so proud of the students at Texas A&M," concluded Slocum.

Dennis Franchione also developed a friendship with the George and Barbara Bush. The President would swing by practice from time to time and during a spring workout in 2004 was taught how to kick off practice by 'breaking em down.'

"'They were just wonderful to be around. Great sense of humor and approach to life and everything and touched us in so many ways and we were so grateful for our opportunity to be around them," said Franchione.