So we just got through the Super Bowl and the two weeks of hype surrounding the fact that two brothers were facing each other in the big game. We heard from parents, childhood friends, former teammates; I even saw one report where they brought out a former high school teammate of the Harbaughs to talk about how tough they were. Leave no stone unturned.
I can’t imagine those kinds of high stakes when competing against a family member. I’ve had a few epic Ping-Pong battles with my brother Sam over the years, but given our eight-year age difference he normally got the better of me. Not too many Lombardi Trophies exchanged hands in those show downs, just the right to talk trash until the wee hours of the morning. I’m still jockeying for a rematch.
In what is a pretty unlikely coincidence, on the Saturday before the Super Bowl, at the height of Harbaugh-hype, another family story made its way to CSUB. Roadrunner men’s basketball hosted Utah Valley last Saturday night, a team they will become very familiar with in the years to come as they are both joining the Western Athletic Conference in 2013. What they also both currently share is a father-son relationship.
The Bakersfield Californian recently profiled CSUB head coach Rod Barnes and his son Brandon, who is playing for his father for the first time this season. On the other bench Saturday night was Utah Valley head coach Dick Hunsaker and his son, Holton.
I wasn’t about to open the can of worms and find out the last time two teams have faced each other while both sporting a father-son duo. But there have been several of these duos in college basketball history. Both of these players are spitting images of their fathers and both play with the same intensity that the elder coaches with. Who knows, maybe one day they too will be calling the shots from the sidelines in a sports coat.
Coaching your son must be better than coaching against him as Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers learned a few weeks ago coaching against his son Austin who plays for the New Orleans Hornets. Hornets won that game by a comfortable margin as well. Meanwhile the joy of winning for Austin was no doubt cut short during the criticism the media gave his father for losing that game. Sometimes it’s a lose-lose.
I’m thinking the Barnes’ and the Hunsaker’s will make it work however. Both are rooted in strong family values and so far their formula for success has translated well on the court. With mostly bad news about strong families these days, it’s nice to witness a success story first hand.
You can watch that success story yourself this week as CSUB men’s basketball hosts Wyoming at Rabobank Arena Wednesday, Feb. 6 followed by a game at the Icardo Center Saturday, Feb. 9 vs. Cal State San Marcos, both are at 7 p.m.
COREY COSTELLOE, a Tehachapi High graduate, is Director of New Media and Broadcasting for
California State University