BYU's Holmoe sees past and present collide in San Francisco
Rob Kozloff, AP
SAN FRANCISCO — At some point nearly every day, BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe reflects on his days with the San Francisco 49ers.
Holmoe was a fourth-round National Football League draft pick out of BYU and enjoyed a seven-year career with the 49ers, winning Super Bowls in 1984, 1988 and 1989.
And this week, his past and present are colliding in an enjoyable way.
“It’s kind of double-duty this week,” Holmoe said.
Not only do the Cougars face Washington Friday (7:30 p.m. MST, ESPN) in the Fight Hunger Bowl, but Monday night also marked the 49ers’ final game at historic Candlestick Park in a contest against the Atlanta Falcons.
“With it being the last game at Candlestick, it has some significance,” he said. “I’m seeing a lot of former coaches and teammates. A lot of them came into town for the last game. That brings a little more to it.”
Because he had a bowl-related commitment Monday night, he wasn’t able to attend the last game at the field where he made so many memories.
“I’ve got a bowl function at that time, so I can’t go,” Holmoe said. “But I came back when our women’s soccer team played San Francisco this fall and I made a little trip to Candlestick to say my last goodbyes.”
Since arriving in San Francisco Sunday, Holmoe has reconnected with former teammates, including Keena Turner, who is in his sixth season as the 49ers' vice president of football affairs. In the hotel lobby Sunday night, Holmoe bumped into Eddie DeBartolo Jr., the former owner of the 49ers, who was here for the Niners’ final game at Candlestick.
“It was a pleasant surprise,” Holmoe said. “It wasn’t intentional. I didn’t know he was here.”
After his playing career, Holmoe spent stints as a coach at both Stanford and California. He’s happy to bring BYU to the San Francisco bowl game.
“I knew it would be fun to come back to the Bay Area and play,” Holmoe said.
On the day that BYU announced it was going independent, back in 2010, Fight Hunger Bowl executive director Gary Cavalli called Holmoe, whom he called his “old friend.” They had worked together at Stanford.
“We booked BYU on the spot,” Cavalli said.
While Holmoe would have loved for the Cougars to play at Candlestick Park, he said AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants, is a great venue.
“AT&T Park is a baseball field, but it’s a beautiful place,” Holmoe said, adding that the players are having fun in San Francisco.
“Even after one day, our student-athletes really feel like that it’s a special city,” Holmoe said. “They like being around the energy of the city. That’s one of the things about bowl games — both teams have to deal with distractions that come with that. There are a lot of distractions here. So hopefully they’re focused on beating Washington.”
The Cougars enter the game with an 8-4 record after coach Bronco Mendenhall overhauled his entire offensive coaching staff almost a year ago.
How does Holmoe evaluate the season?
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