Someone needs to give Henry Louis Gates the phone number, email, or Twitter handle of Kurt Warner.
Gates is the Harvard professor whose “Finding Your Roots” on PBS is low-key one of the best shows on television. In the show, notable guests discover their family roots based on genealogical research and DNA results.
Now we don’t know if Kurt Warner is related to Pop Warner but it would be a terrific story if he was.
The storyline goes like this: Gates turns the page only to show Kurt a photo of Pop Warner, the legendary Temple coach, and reveal that Pop is his third Great Uncle.
Or something like that.
Kurt leans back in his chair, puts his hands behind his head, and lets out a big: “Wow.”
The TV screen then shows photos of Pop coaching Temple and Kurt’s son, E.J. playing for Temple and both Kurt and Pop being inducted into their respective Halls of Fame.
“I guess it was meant to be,” Kurt might say.
What we do know is that Kurt and Pop were born exactly 100 years apart. Pop in 1871, in Springville, N.Y., and Kurt in 1971, in Burlington, Iowa.
(Ironically, both of Kurt’s current college sons, Kade and E.J., started their careers in Pop Warner football.)
If so, Temple can somewhat claim E.J. as a legacy player in the long line of guys who succeeded relatives who made a name at the school.
I don’t think a single school has the history in that area that Temple does.
Almost in all instances, at least at the college level, the sons exceeded the contributions of the fathers. Even Joe Klecko’s son, Dan, arguably did more at Temple from a recognition standpoint than Joe did. Dan was named Defensive MVP in the Big East, then a Power League on the par of all the current Power 5 schools. Dan has three Super Bowl rings. Dad will be the one going into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in January, though.
Temple defensive end Raheem Brock, the son of 1,000-yard rusher Zach Dixon (1978 Owls), also became an NFL player.
Mark Bright, the 1979 Garden State Bowl MVP, is the son of Jim Bright, the starting fullback for the 1950 Owls who tied Penn State. When the younger Bright was a fullback at William Tennent, he had no offers. Then Jim sent Wayne Hardin his film. Hardin knew Jim played at Temple and offered him on the spot.
“At Temple, we take care of our own,” Hardin said at the time.
Mark more than repaid the scholarship.
Those are just a few examples. There are at least a couple more, including kickers Jim Cooper and Jim Cooper Jr. Mike Walsh, a three-year starter at tackle for the Owls in the mid-70s, is the son of Bud Walsh, a former tight end for the Owls in the late 40s.
The latest is Bobby Salla Jr., the son of Bobby Salla, who at the time he graduated (1977) was the all-time interception leader at Temple. Salla Jr. is only getting started, a true freshman who was in on the kick coverage team when De’Von Fox blocked three kicks a week ago.
Judging from history, his best contributions are yet to come. Only a possible future Finding Your Roots episode will reveal if one of his current teammates is a legacy guy, too.
Friday: UMass Preview
Sunday: UMass Analysis