Thursday, August 21, 2014

Distant family connection wins new fan in time for Super Bowl

By BOBBY BURCH, Herald Staff Writer | 2/1/2013

A former legislator who previously represented Franklin County residents said he has distant ties to the San Francisco 49ers’ Superbowl-bound head coach.

Bill Feuerborn, who previously served Kansas House District 5, said he’s distant relatives to coach Jim Harbaugh’s wife, who formerly was known as Sarah Feuerborn. A Garnett native, Bill Feuerborn said his grandfather and Sarah Harbaugh’s great-grandfather were brothers, making the two distant cousins, Feuerborn said.

A former legislator who previously represented Franklin County residents said he has distant ties to the San Francisco 49ers’ Superbowl-bound head coach.

Bill Feuerborn, who previously served Kansas House District 5, said he’s distant relatives to coach Jim Harbaugh’s wife, who formerly was known as Sarah Feuerborn. A Garnett native, Bill Feuerborn said his grandfather and Sarah Harbaugh’s great-grandfather were brothers, making the two distant cousins, Feuerborn said.

While he’s never met her, Feuerborn said his familial ties to Sarah Harbaugh have helped him determine where his loyalty lies on Superbowl Sunday.

“It’s pretty distant but ... It’s made a 49ers fan out of me,” Feuerborn said Friday.

Sarah Feuerborn, whose parents are former Richmond residents Merle and Alta Feuerborn, unknowingly watched her husband-to-be perform on the gridiron before the couple wed in 2008, according to media reports. Then an Olathe East senior, Sarah Feuerborn saw Harbaugh quarterback the Indianapolis Colts during a 1995 playoff victory over the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Helped in large part by Chiefs kicker Lin Elliott’s three missed field goals, the Colts nabbed a 10-7 victory that advanced Indianapolis to the AFC Championship game.

“I don’t think I knew then who Jim was at that game,” Sarah Harbaugh said of her husband, in an interview with The Kansas City Star. “I was all about the Chiefs. That’s all I ever knew. ... Who would have thought?”

The two met in Las Vegas in 2005 while Sarah was working in real estate and Harbaugh was head football coach at the University of San Diego, according to The Star.

“If he wouldn’t have stopped me, it would never have been,” Sarah Harbaugh said.

Jim Harbaugh now is gearing up for the Super Bowl XLVII match-up against the Baltimore Ravens, which is head-coached by his older brother, John Harbaugh.

In another tie to professional sports, Bill Feuerborn said Sarah Harbaugh is first-cousins with John Koncak, a former NBA player from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s. A 7-foot center, Koncak graduated from Southern Methodist University and later played with the Atlanta Hawks for 10 seasons. While primarily serving as a reserve in the NBA, Koncak also won an Olympic Gold medal in the 1984 summer games in Los Angeles.

“It’s kind of funny that a family that grew up in Richmond had one sibling with an NBA basketball player, and the other one has a son-in-law that’s an NFL coach,” Bill Feuerborn said.

Doing fine, staying busy

Feuerborn, who served in the Kansas Legislature for 18 years, said he’s doing fine and spending more time with family after being defeated in November by now-state Rep. Kevin Jones, R-Wellsville, during Kansas’ general elections.

“I think my blood pressure is less,” Feuerborn said of his life apart from the Kansas Legislature, which largely was spent with the House’s appropriation’s committee. “I thought I’d be bored because I didn’t have anyhting to do, but the time has flown by and I’m staying very busy.”

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