CLEVELAND — While the Cleveland Browns will not be one of the two teams playing in Sunday’s Super Bowl LIII matchup at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, there will be plenty of rooting interests for some Ohio colleges and universities, namely John Carroll University and Miami University.
Five former John Carroll players, Josh McDaniels, Nick Caserio, Jerry Schuplinski, Dave Ziegler and Nick Caley, and one former defensive coordinator, Chris Shula, will represent the Blue Streaks on the NFL’s grandest stage.
McDaniels, the New England Patriots’ offensive coordinator, played quarterback and wide receiver for the Blue Streaks from 1995-1998. McDaniels was on the 1997 team that won the first NCAA Division III playoff game in John Carroll history.
Schuplinski, New England’s assistant quarterbacks coach, was a 1999 graduate of John Carroll University, and later, earned a master’s degree in business administration from JCU.
Before joining the NFL ranks, Schuplinski served as the special teams coordinator/linebackers coach at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. In six seasons at Case, Schuplinski mentored 22 all-conference players. Also, Schuplinski was a graduate assistant for John Carroll for two seasons (2000-2001) and the head coach at Trinity High School in Garfield Heights from 2002-2006.
Ziegler is New England’s director of pro personnel and Caserio serves as the director of player personnel.
Caley, New England’s tight ends coach, graduated from John Carroll in 2006, and then, the Canton native earned a master’s degree from The University of Akron in 2008.
Josh Boyer, the cornerbacks coach for the Patriots, was a four-year starter at Muskingum University (1996-1999). From 1996-1998, Boyer was a wide receiver for the Muskies, and then, in 1999, switched to defensive back, where he earned All-Ohio Athletic Conference status in his senior year.
Boyer went on to coach at the University of Dayton (2001) and Kent State University (2002-2003).
The Patriots are not the only team with coaches who have connections to Cleveland and Ohio.
Rams head coach Sean McVay is a product of Miami (Ohio), where he was a wide receiver from 2004-2007.
Rams run game coordinator Aaron Kromer was an offensive tackle at Miami for four seasons, and then, spent nine years coaching at his alma mater.
Ted Rath, L.A.’s director of strength training and performance, was a linebacker for the University of Toledo from 2003-2006 and was on the Rockets’ 2004 Mid-American Conference Championship team.
Assistant linebackers coach Chris Shula was a linebacker for Miami, and then, continued his coaching career at a school familiar to his family, John Carroll.
Shula, the grandson of legendary NFL coach Don Shula, the namesake for John Carroll’s football stadium, was the Blue Streaks’ defensive coordinator in 2014 and helped the team advance to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament and finish top 10 in scoring defense.
Assistant strength and conditioning coach Dustin Woods is a graduate of Miami. Prior to joining the Rams, Woods served as the head strength and conditioning coach for the Chinese Olympic Skating Association’s short-track speed skating team in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.