On Sunday, Steelers' quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has a chance to etch his name in the Super Bowl history books. If the Steelers can get past Arizona, Big Ben could become only the seventh quarterback to win multiple Super Bowls, while giving Pittsburgh it's sixth world championship. That would be an NFL record.
Roethlisberger has a connection to UK. Growing up in Findlay, Ohio, Roethlisberger played high school football for former UK quarterback Cliff Hite. Hite, who starred at Findlay during his playing days, currently is a member of the Ohio House of Representatives. He coached Findlay from 1996-2005, earning Coach of the Year honors in 1997. Before returning home to Ohio, Hite taught at Danville High School.
Hite forever will be remembered as the one guy who kept Roethlisberger from throwing touchdown passes in high school. In 1998, Hite chose son Ryan to start as Findlay's quarterback. Hite moved Roethlisberger, then a junior, to wide receiver. Roethlisberger caught 57 passes for 757 yards and seven touchdowns, and was named first-team all-district.
Roethlisberger moved to quarterback during his senior season, and as they say, the rest is history. Big Ben played at Miami of Ohio and entered the NFL Draft following his junior season. The Steelers selected him with the 11th pick in the 2004 draft. He became the youngest quarterback ever to win a Super Bowl, leading the Steelers to a win over Seattle in Super Bowl XL.
At the time, Hite told the Toledo Blade his decision to start Ryan Hite at quarterback was based upon the lesser of two evils: Hite to Roethlisberger was a better alternative than Roethlisberger to Hite. (Ironically, Ryan Hite would become a record-setting receiver at Division III Denison).
"I'm a nationally know knucklehead in many people's eyes," Hite was quoted as saying.
I met Cliff Hite last summer, when he was in town attending a UK baseball game. Cliff's youngest son, Kyle, is a student manager for the Wildcat football and baseball teams.
Hite's self-deprecating humor certainly has allowed him to laugh off one of football's most infamous gaffes.
Those are the highlights... Stay tuned.