ASU football's trip to Camp T on Wednesday was a unique experience

The ASU football team visited Camp Tontozona on Wednesday

The ASU football team returned to practice on Thursday after a closed, team-only trip to Camp Tontozona (Camp T) on Wednesday.

For the team and head coach Herm Edwards, the trip was as spiritual as it was a chance to bond as a unit.

“I think players need to know the history of what they do, and I think sometimes in football, we lose sight of that,” Edwards said. “I am really big on going back to the past and understanding the shoulders that we are standing on, and the people who have allowed us to coach this great game … I thought it was a unique experience for everybody.”

Edwards and his players voyaged on a hike to the top of Mt. Kush, which is a nickname and a retreat for ASU to a mountain top that honors former legendary head coach Frank Kush. 

On top of the mountain, ASU’s players mounted shirts and flags into the ground, similar to that of a war battalion that just conquered enemy territory.


However, the hike back down the mountain was the real challenge. Not necessarily for the players, but for Edwards and a couple of his veteran coaches.

“The mountain got some coaches coming down. I was one (of them) … I slipped. When I went down, I left a little bit of me on Camp Kush,” Edwards said with a smile. “It was a great day.”

While discussing his fall, Edwards flipped over his hand to show where he had been cut. The coach didn’t seem too fazed by a couple of his battle scars.

Overall, the day seemed like a nice getaway away from the rigors of fast, physical Division I college football.

Thursday was ASU’s first day of wearing full pads in practice. The festivities were long and violent.

But for Edwards and his players who are playing a game they love, their trip to Camp T on Wednesday served as a special reminder of how fortunate they are to be in the shoes that they are in.

While heading back from their hike, and on their way to a team dinner, Edwards was informed that the dining hall in the kitchen at Camp T had been flooded.

In an area where heavy rainfall has downpoured (even being part of the reason that ASU has missed its full trip to Camp T this year), the team’s dinner looked as if it might not happen.

Edwards called to check in on the matter.

“It was like a dam busted open (in the dining hall) … They said ‘Coach, we will have dinner for these guys at 6:30,’” Edwards said about the incident. “I said you don’t have to. At 6:30, dinner was ready.”

The ASU head coach said that the workers swept and did everything they could to have the food and meals ready at the allotted time, and they had everything done right on schedule.

Prior to practice on Thursday night, Edwards told his group of young men what the group of workers had gone through.

“Today when we had our meeting, I said let me show you something. Sometimes you think it’s hard in practice. You are tired,” Edwards said. “I said, ‘Let me show you what these people did yesterday, and what they had to deal with before they served you.’ I showed them a picture, and it got silent in the room.”

Edwards added that a kind gesture would be to thank each of the workers who helped make the dinner possible, which the players did on Thursday while greeting and thanking the employees with a big hug.

Many football players will often say the game is about playing and working together as a family. That family attitude is what ASU hopes to stem together throughout fall practice and leading up to their home opener on Sept. 1

For Edwards and his Sun Devil regiment, the trip to Camp T is a reminder that puts things into perspective.

“Those are the things that when you talk about character and team-building and understanding the importance of just people,” Edwards said. “Those are the types of things that are important, and those players saw that … I was proud of them.”


Reach the reporter at atbell1@asu.edu or follow @AndrewBell7 on Twitter.

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