Coaches Caravan: Day II - Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Coaches Caravan bus rolled south on I-95 for day two of the first leg on Wednesday morning en route for a lunch stop at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore and an evening reception in Washington, D.C.

More than 225 fans at lunch and 375 enthusiastic attendees at dinner greeted an all-star cast of Penn State coaches, which included Bill O'Brien, Patrick Chambers, Cael Sanderson and Coquese Washington.  Take a look through some highlights on day two, which included an entertaining evening stop in the nation's capital.

Stop III - Baltimore (Sheraton Inner Harbor)
The Baltimore crowd was greeted with a treat on Wednesday morning as coaches from four major Penn State programs took the opportunity to meet, mingle and address a room filled with Penn State fans and alums.  Joining O'Brien and Chambers on day two of the Caravan were two coaches with Big Ten Coach of the Year accolades from the 2012-13 season in Sanderson and Washington.

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Washington, who led the Lady Lions to a second-straight Big Ten title and third-consecutive NCAA Tournament trip this season, spoke to the crowd first.

"It's fantastic to see so much support from Baltimore," Washington said.

Washington added that she will be thrilled for the Penn State fans in the Baltimore to be able to see the Lady Lions in person when Maryland joins the Big Ten prior to the 2014-15 season.  Washington highlighted her team's march to a second-straight conference title and updated the crowd on what lies ahead for her young team in the fall.

"We have seven freshmen coming in this summer.  Baltimore, please pray for me," Washington joked.

To close her speech, Washington expressed her appreciation for what all of the Penn State fans do for each and every program on campus.

"For us to do what we do, you guys are a part of our team," Washington said.

Fresh off leading the Penn State wrestling team to its third-straight NCAA title, Sanderson received a standing ovation as he was introduced to the crowd.  O'Brien was among the first people in the room to stand and applaud for Sanderson, who walked to the microphone clad in a dark suit with a blue "O'Brien's Lions" T-shirt on under his jacket.

"I think that was probable for the T-shirt," Sanderson joked as he opened his jacket.  "That's why O'Brien stood up first (laughter)."

Coach Chambers explained to the crowd that he and his staff spend a lot of time recruiting in the Baltimore area.  Like he did on day one, the leader of Nittany Lion basketball told the crowd to expect an exciting, high-paced attack on the hardwood when the Lions take the floor in the fall.

O'Brien spoke last during the luncheon.  He kicked off his speech with a sarcastic congratulatory message to the fans of the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens in the room, which drew a great deal of laughter.  Additionally, he told the crowd how he and strength coach Craig Fitzgerald Googled Cael Sanderson's name to marvel over his athletic and coaching accomplishments, which again created a roar of laughter from the crowd of 225.

The Nittany Lions currently have 11 players on the football roster from Maryland, many of which play a very prominent role on the team.  With that being said, O'Brien talked about the importance of recruiting in Maryland and how the program will continue to emphasize the importance of finding talent in Maryland.

As was the case in Reading and Philadelphia, all four coaches used the Caravan stop to say thank you for the support.  Without the core group of supporters, like the ones in the room at Baltimore, the Penn State athletic programs would not be the same.

"You are the foundation.  Without you guys we are not possible," Chambers said.


VIDEO: Baltimore Press Conference with Coach O'Brien



Stop IV: Washington (Hyatt Regency)

The Coaches Caravan moved south after the Baltimore stop to the nation's capital for the fourth program on the first week.  In front of a lively crowd of 375, O'Brien, Chambers, Sanderson and Washington delivered a superb series of speeches on Wednesday night.

"You all are a lively bunch.  This is going to be a fun evening," Washington said to open the program.

The four coaches deserve a great deal of credit for their presentations, but the fans and alums in attendance made the Washington, D.C. event one of the best in the two years of the Coaches Caravan.  From start to finish, the crowd was enthusiastic and energetic inside the Regency Ballroom.

Sanderson, who spoke second, put on a display of stand-up comedy at the podium during his five-plus minutes at the microphone.  Wearing his second piece of Bill O'Brien fan gear of the day, Sanderson donned a "Billieve" shirt under his suit jacket.

From ribbing Coach Chambers about the work he has ahead of him to telling Coach O'Brien that the reason everyone is a fan of his is because he goes for it on fourth down every chance he gets, Sanderson had the crowd roaring with laughter.

"How many times do they really go for it on fourth down?" Sanderson joked.

Chambers picked up right where Sanderson left off, telling the D.C. crowd about how he had been mistaken for Sanderson on several occasions in Baltimore and prior to the evening event Washington.  He joked that he even signed a few autographs with Sanderson's signature.

"He's a beast! I'm just a skinny point guard (laughter)," Chambers said.

Outside of the comical speeches from all four, the theme of Wednesday night centered on the folks in the room, the core Penn State fans, as O'Brien has called the group throughout the Caravan.  It is people like the enthusiastic crowd in Washington, D.C. that make Penn State sporting events and its programs so special.

Like Sanderson said during his speech about what his message is to recruits - "When you come to Penn State, you will be a part of something special," he said.  The same holds true for the fans.  When you support Penn State sports teams, whether it be fans or alums or both, you will become a part of something very special, much bigger than wins and losses on the field of play.

"This is one of the best crowds we've had since we've done this for two years," O'Brien said.

The Caravan moves to Lancaster and Camp Hill on Thursday to cap off week one.


VIDEO: Washington Press Conference with Coaches O'Brien, Washington and Sanderson


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Miles Covered on Day One -
203 miles
Miles Covered on Day Two - 147 miles
Caravan Total -
350 miles    


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