CCCAA Super Bowl XLIX Connections

CCCAA Super Bowl XLIX Connections

Sacramento, CA . . . The California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) is proud to announce that seven former California Community College student-athletes, one former coach, and four former officials are participating in Super Bowl XLIX between the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots. On the Patriots roster is their No.1 wide receiver, Julian Edleman (College of San Mateo). On the Seahawks side is backup tight end Cooper Helfet (Santa Rosa Junior College), rookie wide receiver and special teams player Chris Matthews (LA Harbor College), former first round draft pick linebacker Bruce Irvin (Mt. San Antonio College), Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll (College of Marin), Quarterbacks Coach Carl Smith (Bakersfield College), Asst. QB Coach/Quality Control Dave Canals (El Camino College), and Defensive Passing Game Coordinator Rocky Seto (Mt. San Antonio College). Much of the refereeing crew assigned to Super Bowl XLIX also started their careers within the CCCAA. Bill Vinovic will be the referee (white hat), Mark Pelman will serve as the Head Linesman, and Carl Cheffers and Todd Prukop will be present as alternates.   

In addition to those participating in the big game, there are a few former CCC student-athletes, now ESPN personalities, who will be covering the championship game all week. Herm Edwards attended and played for Monterey Peninsula College where he was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame. He worked his way into the NFL as a cornerback where he played for 10 seasons, making a Super Bowl appearance of his own with the Philadelphia Eagles. Edwards then moved onto a long coaching career in the league and is now an analyst for NFL Live. Keyshawn Johnson played two seasons at West Los Angeles College (1991 & ’93) earning All-American honors his final year as a wide receiver with 55 receptions and 1,245 yards before transferring to USC. Johnson moved onto a long NFL career where he was a three-time pro bowler and earned a Super Bowl ring himself while in Tampa Bay. He now works alongside Edwards on occasion but is most frequently on Sunday NFL Countdown and Monday Night Countdown. Antonio Pierce is a CCCAA Hall of Famer playing two seasons at Mt. San Antonio College (1996-97) as a linebacker. Pierce helped lead his team to win the CCCAA State and National championship in ’97, being named to the All-State team before transferring to the University of Arizona. Pierce earned a Super Bowl ring with the New York Giants in 2007 and has been an ESPN analyst since 2010. 

New England’s Julian Edleman is a former quarterback for College of San Mateo during the 2005 season. Edelman threw for 1,312 yards and 14 touchdowns while rushing for a school-record 1,253 yards and 17 touchdowns. He earned All-American honors that season, being named the first team Offensive Player of the Year and leading his team to an 8-3 record with a win in the Bulldog Bowl before transferring to Kent State.

Seattle’s Cooper Helfet played for the Santa Rosa Junior College Bear Cubs during the 2008 and ’09 seasons. In 2008 Helfet helped lead the team to an 8-3 record by catching 28 passes for 382 yards, including a 12-reception, 188-yard, three-TD performance in a 28-20 win over Sierra College in the Premiere Bank Bowl. In ’09 he had 40 receptions for 657 yards and seven TD’s, making the All-NorCal Conference team. Helfet then transferred to Duke before going to the NFL.

Bruce Irvin is currently a starting linebacker for the Seattle Seahawks, picked 15th overall in the 2012 NFL draft. Irvin played for Mt. San Antonio College in 2008 and 2009 where he got 72 tackles, 16 sacks, three forced fumbles and a touchdown on a fumble recovery. He lead the ’09 Mounties to a State and National Championship, earning first team All-American and Region III Defensive Player of the Year honors before transferring to West Virginia.

Chris Matthews played two seasons with LA Harbor College (2007-08) posting 80 catches as a Sophomore good for 1,235 yards and 11 touchdowns in just nine games. He led the CCCAA in receptions in ’08 earning First-team All-American honors and transferring to Kentucky as one of the highest ranked receivers in the nation at the community college level.

Seattle’s Head Coach, Pete Carroll, who helped turn the Seahawks’ franchise around, is also a CA community college alum, playing two seasons at the College of Marin (1969-70) before transferring to the University of the Pacific. “That was a really important time for me,” Carroll said. “I was able to blossom. It led me into coaching too. It’s a time I’ll always remember fondly for finally being able to play to my potential.” He’s now in his fourth year as the Seahawks Head Coach and going for their second Super Bowl title in as many years.

Quarterbacks Coach, Carl Smith, is another CCC alum, quarterbacking the Bakersfield College Renegades for two seasons (1966-67). Also from Seattle’s coaching staff is Asst. Quarterbacks Coach/Quality Control, Dave Canals. Canals started his coaching career as a Quarterbacks Coach at El Camino College from 2006-08. El Camino won the CCCAA football State title in 2006 during Canals’ first season there. Seattle’s Defensive Passing Game Coordinator, Rocky Seto, also has a history with CA community colleges, playing fullback and defensive end for Mt. San Antonio College in the 1995-96 seasons before transferring to USC.

In addition to the former players and coaches who got their careers going at the community college level, there are four officials who will be present for Super Bowl XLIX with California community college backgrounds. Bill Vinovich will be the big games referee (white hat), Mark Perlman serves as the Head Linesman, and Carl Cheffers along with Todd Prukop are alternates. All four officials started their football officiating careers in Southern CA community college football.

The CCCAA would like to congratulate each of these gentlemen for their success to this point in their careers. Each of these former student-athletes, coaches and referees mentioned came into the California Community College system for one reason or another and took advantage of that opportunity. They have each grown from their experiences and are now performing on the biggest stage in football, the Super Bowl.


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