What must Jack Harbaugh be thinking this week as his two sons get ready to coach against each other in the Super Bowl?
One Savannah man knows, because he's known Harbaugh pretty much all his life.
Dave Smith made his own name in sports as one of the most influential sports editors of the 20th century during 47 years at papers such as the Dallas Morning News, Boston Globe and Washington Times. Before retiring to the Landings, he was responsible for many changes in how sports are covered and was a Red Smith Award winner.
But before all that, he grew up in Crestline, Ohio and went to grade school and high school with Jack Harbaugh. They played a lot of sports together in their town of about 5,000.
Smith was never surprised by the success Harbaugh had in his own coaching career that spanned 47 years. And he's not surprised he has raised two coaches, because it was their blood.
"You could tell he was going to be a coach all his life,'' Smith said of Harbaugh, who spent his career in college football, winning a I-AA national championship with Western Kentucky in 2002. "First of all, in a little town like that, everybody played all three sports. We all played basketball, baseball and football. And Jack was the quarterback in football, he was the shortstop in baseball and he was a forward in basketball and he was a starter in all of them. He was one of the best athletes we had.''
Smith has spoken to Harbaugh within the last couple of days and as exciting as it is to have two sons coaching in the Super Bowl, the hard part will come after the game, just as it did the first time his boys met as NFL coaches last thanksgiving.
"They stuck their heads in both locker rooms and, of course, the 49ers lost that game,'' said Smith. "And over in the corner all by himself, there's Jimmy, just really downtrodden. And he said ‘that's where we went.' He said it's a tough part because you can't get too excited for the winner because the other one's the loser. But you don't want to take away from the winner and his great moment, so it's tough.''
This time, Harbaugh does have the consolation of knowing that one of his sons will be a Super Bowl champion Sunday night.