Old Dominion athletic director Wood Selig says he’ll be rooting for the San Francisco 49ers in today’s Super Bowl. But most of all, he said he’ll be pulling for everyone in the now-famous Harbaugh family, with whom he is close.
Selig was athletic director at Western Kentucky for three years when Jack Harbaugh was the head football coach. Harbaugh is the father of Jim Harbaugh, coach of the 49ers, and John Harbaugh, coach of the Baltimore Ravens, who meet tonight in the Super Bowl. It is the first Super Bowl ever to feature head coaches who are brothers.
Selig and Jack Harbaugh became close in the three years that he was Harbaugh’s boss at Western Kentucky. Harbaugh left WKU to become head coach at Western Michigan after winning the 2002 Division I-AA national championship.
Selig also got to know both Jim and John. Jim Harbaugh was an NCAA certified part-time assistant at Western Kentucky while still playing in the NFL.
“He would come in for two or three games each fall and would travel with the team and hang out on the sidelines and have a team meal,” he said.
“Jim helped us recruit Willie Taggart as our head coach, who is arguably the best player in the history of WKU football. John would come in from time to time on weekends. I got to know the entire family very well.”
Selig says he’s pulling for the 49ers, a team he rooted for since he was a child growing up in Norfolk’s Larchmont neighborhood. He became a 49ers fan in part because former North Carolina great Ken Willard played in San Francisco.
“I chose not to be a Redskins fan because everyone else was,” he said.
“Most everyone else was a Cowboys fan and I didn't like the Cowboys, either. The 49ers had John Brodie and Gene Washington and Ken Willard.
“Ken Willard played at Chapel Hill and I was a big Carolina fan. So I said I'm going to follow this team that has Ken Willard. I’ve been a 49ers fan ever since.”
Tonight, he said he’ll be thinking of Jack and wife Jackie, and will try to imagine how they feel watching their sons coach against each other in the Super Bowl.
“What a great family and such a great story,” he said. “What a special thing to see them both in the Super Bowl.”
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