Sioux Falls, SD
If you're planning on watching the Super Bowl this weekend and haven't decided who to cheer for, some South Dakota connections may help you make your decision.
There are three people with the San Francisco 49ers organization who have ties back to South Dakota. One of them was a coach at a SDSU, another a Baltic native and one a Pierre native.
SDSU's head football coach says it's all a great lesson of following your dreams.
"Brad Seeley is a Jackrabbit because he graduated from here," SDSU’s Head Football Coach John Stiegelmeier said.
Seeley, a Baltic native, graduated from SDSU and began his coaching career there in 1978. Coach Stig wasn't with the Jackrabbits organization when Seeley was but has met him a few times.
"If you’re gifted and you're willing to work hard and again, you get to know the right people, you can do anything. I mean he's from small, small town South Dakota and here he's coaching in the Super Bowl. So a great lesson for all of us," Stiegelmeier said.
Seeley isn't the only 9ers connection SDSU has. The Jacks former defensive line and strength coach, Tent Baalke, is now the 49ers General Manager.
"Trent Baalke is the most competitive coach I have ever been around. When I say that, who is the most, it’s Trent Baalke. He always wanted to be the best. He always wanted to know everything that was going on, whether it was his recruits; he was also our strength coach. Just a very intense guy that always wanted to win," Stiegelmeier said.
Coach Stig says it gives him a special meaning to watch this year's Super Bowl and being able to cheer for two close connections. But he says more than anything, it's a story we can all learn from.
"I think both of these guys' stories is a lesson for all of us. And we hear these lessons but we don't pursue our dreams and here are two guys that pursued their dream and they are literally at the top and in the top game of what you'd hope to be part of,” Stiegelmeier said.
There is also yet another 49ers connection to South Dakota. Nate Breske, who is an assistant athletic trainer with the 49ers, was born in Pierre and worked in Watertown before heading to the west coast.