BATON ROUGE -- LSU’s presence at this year’s Super Bowl contest between Pittsburgh and Arizona on Sunday in Tampa won’t be limited to players competing on the field as three coaches along with one of the game officials have ties to the school.
A total of eight participants in this year’s Super Bowl have connections to LSU, a list that includes four players – two for Pittsburg and two for Arizona. The four players include safety Ryan Clark and running back Justin Vincent for the Steelers and wide receiver Early Doucet and linebacker Ali Highsmith for the Cardinals.
Clark is the starting safety for the Steelers, while Doucet will see action in a backup role at receiver for the Cardinals. Vincent is on the Steelers practice squad and will not take part in the game, while Highsmith is on injured reserve and will watch from the sidelines as well.
Clark goes into Sunday’s game having played in 16 games this year for the Steelers. His regular season totals had him recording 87 tackles to go along with six passes defended and one interception. In Pittsburgh’s two playoff games leading up to the Super Bowl, Clark ranked second on the team with 20 tackles. He also recovered a fumble in post-season play.
Doucet played in seven games during the regular season for Arizona, finishing with 14 catches for 90 yards. Doucet has played in two of Arizona’s three playoff games up to this point.
In addition to the four players, three coaches who served on staffs at LSU will coach in the game. John Mitchell, who handles the role of assistant head coach/defensive line coach for the Steelers, coached at LSU from 1987-90 under Mike Archer. Mitchell coached the outside linebackers and served as the defensive coordinator during his stay with LSU.
Larry Zierlein, who coaches the Steelers offensive line, held the same position at LSU under Curley Hallman in 1993 and 1994.
Freddie Kitchens, the tight end coach for Arizona, worked at LSU for one year as he served as a graduate assistant for the Tigers in 2000.
The final Super Bowl participant with LSU ties is that of game official Terry McAulay. McAulay, who is refereeing his second Super Bowl, is a graduate of LSU. Now in his 11th season as an NFL official, McAulay graduated from LSU in 1981 with a degree in computer science.