I have this charming memory of Ron Rivera and I want to share it with you.
Rivera is head coach of the Carolina Panthers who play the 49ers today at Candlestick Park. He played linebacker at Cal 1980-83 and he played in the NFL. Today, I'm interested in him at Cal, way back then.
Here's how I got to know Rivera. I would go over to Cal to interview football players during the week, and I would interview players after home games. And I noticed an intriguing phenomenon. Rivera would attend my interviews as an observer.
It happened like this. As I sat down with a player, Rivera — young, polite, soft-spoken — would say, "Do you mind if I sit in?"
I didn't mind at all. I was honored. I already knew him a little because I had previously interviewed him, and I had been impressed with his maturity and brains. So, as I interviewed another player, Rivera sat there listening. Sometimes, he had a pad and pen and he took notes. This was strictly amazing.