ROCKFORD, Mich. (WOOD) - Two-time All-Pro and Rockford native Joe Staley is praising his high school football coach for helping him make it big time.
"He is awesome. He is one of those coaches in your life that really impact you, that make a lasting impression," Staley said during a Super Bowl XLVII media news conference this week.
Ralph Munger has been the football coach at Rockford High School for more than 20 years.
It is easy to see how proud both men are to have worked with one another.
"Joe was a lot of fun, obviously very talented even back then," Munger told 24 Hour News 8.
And that talent never left Joe Staley.
From Rockford, to Central Michigan University, and now playing for the San Francisco 49ers and preparing for the Sunday's Super Bowl against the Baltimore Ravens in New Orleans.
As much as credit as Staley gives Munger for his own success, the coach says it belongs with Staley.
"He made it happen. Everything's Joe gotten he has earned, believe me. Even up at Central he busted his tail and worked very hard in their program. He's also been a consummate team guy."
And now Staley's old team is cheering on his new team, hoping for a big win.
"Every day I wear San Francisco something, and I'll continue to do that until I put the Rockford Ram stuff back on," said Munger. "But right now, Joe is heavy on our mind, and all of us here at Rockford are really wishing him well and the 49ers well. Once a Ram always a Ram."
Coach Munger said he and Staley still text message each other every once in a while.
Munger plans on watching the Super Bowl at home and is hoping that on Sunday one of his former Rockford Rams will be a world champion.
Staley is the third player from Munger's teams to advance to the National Football League.
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