Utah Sports Dads Create Lasting Legacies, Memories For Their Families
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Sports have always been an excellent source of bonding for fathers and their children.
Taking part in activities like playing catch in the yard and sharing a passion for sports in both playing and watching are hallmarks of the American father and son relationship.
In my life, sports have created an amazing connection between me and my father. When I was growing up, my dad, Dirk, and I were always doing something sports related together. My dad was the coach of my baseball and basketball teams and later served as the president of the Utah High School Hockey Association while I was playing hockey in high school.
My dad and I also share a common interest in working in sports media. He’s been working at the Deseret News for the last 20-plus years and has spent over 15 years as the beat writer for the University of Utah football and basketball programs.
Some of my favorite memories are going to work with my dad as a little boy and rubbing shoulders with famous athletes and sports figures while my dad conducted interviews and wrote award-winning articles. Without a doubt, my dad’s hard work and kindness have opened countless doors for me in the sports media industry.
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In recognition of Father’s Day, KSLSports.com has put together a list of some of the most notable sports fathers in the Beehive State:
Though he was both in San Diego, golf great Billy Casper called Springville his home at the time of his death in 2015.
Casper was one of the best players on the planet from the mid-1950s to the mid-1970s. In his career, he won three major championships and appeared in what was once a record eight Ryder Cups.
— Billy Casper Golf (@BillyCasperGolf) June 10, 2019
He had 11 children, including Bob, who won the Utah High School state championship in 1978 before playing at BYU. After retiring from his playing career, which began in 1983, Bob has gone on to become one of the most respected radio and podcast personalities covering golf.
Another golfer, Bruce Summerhays, made his mark on his sport’s landscape and sent his children into the professional ranks as well.
Summerhays turned pro in 1966 and went on to have a highly successful career on the Champions Tour. He has three Champions Tour wins and has racked up over $9 million in prize money.
2014 Utah Sports Hall of Fame inductees: Logan Tom, Noelle Pikus-Pace, Bruce Summerhays and Luther Ellis pic.twitter.com/C0S3uLRqVe
— Jeremiah Jensen (@JJSportsBeat) October 7, 2014
His talented children include Carrie Summerhays Roberts, who coaches at BYU and had a successful career in the LPGA after earning All-American honors for the Cougars. Summerhays’ sons, Daniel and Boyd, also play professionally.
Larry H. Miller
The late owner of the Utah Jazz, Larry H. Miller, and his family continue to be the state’s elite family in terms of providing world class sports and entertainment as well as other business ventures.
Miller passed away from illness compounded by his diabetes in 2009, but his family carries on in his honor. His wife, Gail, recently put the ownership of the Jazz in a family trust fund, ensuring that the team will remain connected to the Miller family and to the Utah community for the foreseeable future.
Larry H. Miller became a co-owner of the Utah Jazz when he purchased half the team on April 11, 1985. Just over a year later, on June 16, 1986, in order to prevent the sale and move of the franchise to Minnesota, he bought the remaining 50 percent. 🎷@AFCU pic.twitter.com/4BC9NDq3f5
— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) April 13, 2018
“There have been many opportunities to sell and move the franchise, but from the day Larry and I purchased the Jazz our goal was to keep the team in Utah. The Legacy Trust will help to ensure this commitment is kept for generations to come,” said Gail Miller at a press conference announcing the trust in 2017.
Jazz legend John Stockton built an incredible resume in his 19-year long career. Among his many feats was becoming the NBA’s all-time leader in assists and steals, leading the Jazz to the NBA Finals in 1997 and 1998, forming an incredible on-court dynamic with Karl Malone and being named one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history.
A rare bright spot for the Jazz in Game 3: David Stockton Eurostepped into a layup … and his dad approved. pic.twitter.com/8oaxb8BqhO
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) May 5, 2018
Stockton’s children have gone on to have nice athletic careers as well. His son, David, suited up for the Jazz in three games during the 2017-18 season after working his way into the league through the G League. David also starred at Gonzaga like his famous father.
Utah head football coach Kyle Whittingham came from a football family to raise one of his own. His father, Fred, was a longtime assistant coach at BYU and according to family friend, Washington State head coach Mike Leach, was one of the toughest people on earth.
— Utah Football (@Utah_Football) October 13, 2018
A tough guy himself, Whittingham has fathered four children and several of them have also contributed to the state’s football scene. His son, Alex, works as a defensive assistant with the Kansas City Chiefs after wrapping up a playing career under his dad at Utah.
Whittingham’s brother, Freddie, is also a coach at Utah.