Atlantic Coast Conference Strongly Represented at Super Bowl XLIII
Jan. 22, 2009
Greensboro, N.C.—There will be a definitive Atlantic Coast Conference presence when the Arizona Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Steelers meet next week in Super Bowl XLIII as 22 of the participating players and five of the coaches—including Arizona Cardinal Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt—have ties to current ACC schools.
Whisenhunt played collegiately at Georgia Tech and is perhaps the only player in the history of the school to have lettered five times (he lettered in a year in which he received a hardship redshirt). He played six different positions for the Yellow Jackets and ended his career earning first-team All-ACC honors as a tight end in 1984. He also ended his career second on Georgia Tech’s career receiving lists for receptions and reception yardage.
In addition to Whisenhunt, Arizona defensive back coach Teryl Austin spent three seasons (1993-95) in a similar capacity for Wake Forest and Cardinals’ offensive coordinator Todd Haley attended Miami before graduating from North Florida University.
In all, the Cardinals have 11 players on their roster, all of them active, who played for current ACC schools including three from Miami in defensive end Calais Campbell, running back Edgerrin James and free safety Antrel Rolle; two from Florida State in wide receiver Anquan Boldin and defensive tackle Darnell Dockett, two from Boston College in center Pat Ross and quarterback Brian St. Pierre as well as one each from Virginia Tech, cornerback Eric Green; NC State, strong safety Adrian Wilson; Virginia, tackle Elton Brown; and Duke, tight end Ben Patrick.
Patrick actually spent four years at Duke and graduated before transferring to Delaware—his listed college--for his final collegiate season. Pittsburgh has two coaches with ACC ties—offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, who played quarterback (1972-74) and served as an assistant coach (1975-77) for the Hokies, and Special Teams Coach Bob Ligashesky who spent one year as an assistant coach at Wake Forest in 1985.
Overall, the Steelers boast 11 players with ACC ties, 10 of whom are on the active roster. Florida State and North Carolina lead the way with three each. Former Seminoles on the Steelers roster include cornerback Bryant McFadden, defensive end Orpheus Roye and linebacker Lawrence Timmons, while former Tar Heels include running back Willie Parker, kicker Jeff Reed and long snapper Greg Warren. Warren is the lone ACC player on the teams’ reserve list.
There are two former Virginia players on the Steelers—linebacker James Farrior and tight end Heath Miller; and one player each from Duke (linebacker Patrick Bailey), Georgia Tech (linebacker Keyaron Fox) and Clemson (defensive end Nick Eason).
In all, the ACC and Big Ten lead all conferences with 22 players each on the two Super Bowl teams, followed by the SEC (14), PAC-10 (11) and the Big 12 (10).