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Youth Football Team Waits To Welcome Home Tulsa Marine, Their Coach

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Col. Rusty Anderson may be a leatherneck on the battlefield, but he has a burning passion for the pigskin. And his team turned out for his homecoming. Col. Rusty Anderson may be a leatherneck on the battlefield, but he has a burning passion for the pigskin. And his team turned out for his homecoming.
Col. Rusty Anderson and his wife, Lisa, were reunited Friday. This was his third tour of duty. Col. Rusty Anderson and his wife, Lisa, were reunited Friday. This was his third tour of duty.
From the size of the group hug the coach got from his team Friday, it's easy to see how important he is to the boys. From the size of the group hug the coach got from his team Friday, it's easy to see how important he is to the boys.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

A Green Country Marine arrived in Tulsa Friday to find a whole team of people waiting for him.

Col. Rusty Anderson may be a leatherneck on the battlefield, but he has a burning passion for the pigskin. And his team turned out for his homecoming.

"To see so many people show up to support Rusty, it shows how loved he is," said his wife, Lisa Anderson.

For the last five years, Rusty has watched a group of 10 and 11-year-old boys grow up from the sidelines.

"He's more than a defensive coach. He's our friend, he's very supportive of us," said Michael Marrs.

"I think he's awesome, because he fights in the war, and it's cool that he gets to coach our team," said Grayson Berryhill.

Rusty made it a priority to return home from Afghanistan in time for football season. He's not only the defensive coach of the Union youth team; he also has a son who plays football at the high school. But his gridiron roots run even deeper than that.

"That's how I met him. He was on the football team in high school," Lisa said.

From the size of the group hug the coach got from his team Friday, it's easy to see how important he is to the boys.

"We put a lot of time and sweat and tears and blood into coaching, and to know it's making a difference and having an effect makes it all worth it," Rusty said.

For this Marine, coaching is as much about developing men as it is athletes.

"Do well in school, do well at home, and do well in the community," he said.

Col. Anderson said one of the first things he plans to do is take a cruise with his wife, Lisa.

But of course, football isn't far from his heart. He plans to be back on the sidelines next week.

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