Operation Hardwood begins with Walter Reed visit 

August, 17, 2009
8/17/09
8:19
PM ET
Outside of my marriage, the birth of my two sons and a couple of huge coaching wins in my career, nothing has given me more pleasure in my life than taking part in Operation Hardwood: Hoops for Troops, a USO and Armed Forces Entertainment-sponsored trip that allows eight current and former college coaches to visit our men and women in the military serving in the Persian Gulf.

I'll be making my third trip there this week and plan to blog about my experiences in this very space. (For security reasons, I can't give you too many details about where we will be heading, at the moment.)

This is the sixth year of Operation Hardwood, the brainchild of advertising executive Rick Kell, who has poured his heart and soul into setting up these trips, with the idea of having the eight coaches each coach teams of soldiers in a basketball tournament over five days. The competition gets hot and heavy and we try to help provide relief from the stress of the battlefield and the 130-degree Baghdad summer heat. We get to meet and talk to soldiers from every part of our great country and get to see them to go about their daily duties.