Super Bowl coaches united by college football career

Super Bowl coaches united by college football career

Credit: KING

Super Bowl coaches united by college football career

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by ALISON MORROW / KING 5

Bio | Email | Follow: @AlisonMorrowTV

KING5.com

Posted on January 31, 2014 at 10:59 PM

On Super Bowl Sunday, sports fans will divide by color. The Seahawks will sport their bright blue and green and the Broncos, their fiery orange. The two teams, however, will be led by head coaches who were once united by the very same cardinal and gold.

On a cold January day, the brown and yellow of empty cornfields cover much of Ames, Iowa, a small town known for farmland and college football.

"They're told, 'Look, you're going to be in the limelight. You're going to be in the newspaper, on TV and on the radio," explained "Voice of the Cyclones" John Walters.

It was no different three decades ago when Pete Carroll and John Fox paced the sidelines at Iowa State University, Carroll in 1978 and Fox in 1984.

Both worked on defense and only stayed a year, just two of ISU's dozens of former assistant coaches, most of whom Frank Randall forgot.

"But I do remember these two," Randall said. "You look back at your relationship with them and you say, 'That doesn't surprise me.'"

Head athletic trainer at ISU for 34 years, Randall describes Carroll and Fox as about as opposite as cardinal and gold.

"'Woohoo baby!' he was just so excited, so energized," remembered John Quinn.

Quinn played quarterback for ISU. Red-shirted his freshman year, he helped Carroll prepare the defense.

 "He's one of those guys you wish you could continue to play for," Quinn said. "He understood the players. He understood how to motivate them. He just brought that energy there."

Coaching the Cyclones was Carroll's first full-time job as a college football coach. The team was 8 and 4 that season and played in the Hall of Fame Bowl. It was an exciting year for an excitable coach.

"Always running about 130 mph. I watch him on the sidelines. He hasn't changed a bit," Randall said.

Carroll is best remembered at ISU for successful recruiting, positive thinking and chewing gum.

"I didn't really care because I was chewing tobacco at the time," Randall laughed. "I just figured it was a quirk of his."

Former offensive coach Jim Williams remembers the same.

"If it was raining and you had to practice, he thought that was great because the corn would grow and the grass would grow, that type of thing," Williams said.

Williams describes Fox as more cerebral.

Today, despite heart surgery, Fox is still known for the same focus and determination of the early 1980s.

"Hard worker. Do your job. No rah-rah stuff but a good coach," Randall said.

A talented teacher, John Fox worked his 5th full-time college football coaching position at ISU. It was a tough season for the Cyclones, ending at just 2 - 7 - 2.

"He brought a presence to the field that the guys knew he meant business," Williams said.

For those who knew the young coaches, the Super Bowl teams reflect their coaches' personalities even 30 years later.

"The quarterback and head coach at Denver, to me they're so much alike, they're just a perfect fit," Randall said. "Down to earth, quiet, business-like people."

Randall describes the Seahawks as a mirror of Carroll's uncaged enthusiasm and passion.

"They're gonna go 100 mph. They're gonna knock your head off and then look at you and say, 'You gotta like it.' That's kind of the way he was," he said.

Despite the contrasts, ISU remembers Fox and Carroll for a couple similarities besides nearly matching haircuts.

"You can still see a little of the college influences in both of them," Walters said. "They seem to really connect with their players."

The two coaches are also remembered for always keeping their eyes focused on the field before them.

"They weren't guys who had one eye on the next job," Williams said. "They were gonna take this job and coach it like they were gonna coach it forever."

So, if the past can predict the future, ISU may hold Sunday's crystal ball.

"Who would've ever thought anywhere along the line that they'd meet for the championship? That's kind of a one in a million, isn't it?" Williams smiled.

Only time will tell whether the Super Bowl will favor Carroll's high energy or Fox's reserved pragmatism, competing now for the biggest win of their careers, which began in the same end zone.

"I told my wife, 'This is a hell of a deal. We've got two of our coaches in the Super Bowl," Randall said. "I think it's going to be a hell of a game."
 

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