Super Bowl LIV will feature a local flair.
Four people with connections to the area — one from Manhattan High as well and three former Kansas State players — will head to Miami with hopes of winning Super Bowl rings.
The San Francisco 49ers, who won the NFC title 37-20 at home over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, have three local representatives in quarterbacks coach Shane Day, linebacker Elijah Lee and defensive back D.J. Reed. The Kansas City Chiefs, who will appear in the Super Bowl for the first time since 1970 after a 35-24 victory over the Tennessee Titans, have Byron Pringle on their roster.
Day, San Francisco’s first-year quarterbacks coach, graduated from Manhattan High in 1993, playing under legendary former coach Lew Lane. After beginning his college career at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tenn., where he lettered as a receiver, he attended K-State, earning his English degree in 1999.
He started his coaching career at Auburn Riverside High School in Auburn, Wash., from 2001 to 2004, coaching the wideouts and quarterbacks in his first two seasons before becoming the offensive coordinator for his final two seasons. Day then jumped to the college level, serving as an offensive quality control assistant at Michigan (2005 and 2006) before taking on the same job with the 49ers (2007 to 2009). In 2010 and 2011, he was the Chicago Bears’ quarterbacks coach. He then assumed that same role at UConn in 2012 and 2013. He moved back to the NFL in 2014 to become the Washington Redskins’ assistant offensive line coach.
In 2016, he accepted a position as the Miami Dolphins’ tight ends coach.
Day remained in Miami in that capacity through the 2018 campaign before starting his second stint with the 49ers prior to this season.
Lee, a two-time All-Big 12 selection at linebacker for K-State in 2015 and 2016, has played in nine games — starting one — as a reserve for the 49ers this season, recording seven tackles. He had an assisted tackle on special teams in Sunday’s victory.
Reed, an All-Big 12 first-team honoree at both defensive back and as a returner during his final season with the Wildcats in 2017, has played in every game for the 49ers this year. San Francisco picked Reed in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL draft with the No. 142 overall pick. He has 13 tackles (11 solo, two assisted) and a forced fumble this season.
Pringle, who made the Chiefs’ roster as an undrafted free agent, finished second in K-State history in career yards per reception (19.64) and sixth in both career kickoff-return average (27.6) and yards (1,076) despite playing just two seasons (2016 and 2017) in Manhattan after beginning his career at Butler Community College.
Pringle has 12 receptions for 170 yards and a touchdown this season.
Super Bowl LIV will kick off at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 2 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami. Fox will handle the national TV broadcast.