Upstate coach watches former player win Super Bowl - FOX Carolina 21

Upstate coach watches former player win Super Bowl

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Mark Huff got the VIP treatment at MetLife Stadium thanks to his former player, Seattle Seahawk Sidney Rice. (Feb. 2, 2014/Mark Huff) Mark Huff got the VIP treatment at MetLife Stadium thanks to his former player, Seattle Seahawk Sidney Rice. (Feb. 2, 2014/Mark Huff)
A photo of Sidney Rice from his days at Gaffney High when he signed to play at USC. (File/FOX Carolina) A photo of Sidney Rice from his days at Gaffney High when he signed to play at USC. (File/FOX Carolina)
GAFFNEY, SC (FOX Carolina) -

A Gaffney coach received a personal invitation to the biggest game in football and watched his former player take home a Super Bowl ring.

Gaffney basketball coach and athletic director Mark Huff got the VIP treatment at MetLife Stadium thanks to his former player and Seattle Seahawk, Sidney Rice.

"I felt honored and humbled that he would think of me from all of the people he could have asked to go," Huff told FOX Carolina reporter Adrian Acosta.

Rice's football stardom began at Gaffney High but what's sometime forgotten is he was a two-sport star. And Rice has not forgotten his hardwood heritage.

Huff coached Rice and the Indians to two consecutive basketball championships in 2003 and 2004. Despite being on a team full of stars, Rice still stood out.

He is one of the best. He can run, he can jump, has hand-eye coordination," Huff said of his former player.

Once he was at the University of South Carolina, basketball may have become an afterthought for Rice, showing speed, size and good hands on the gridiron. That caught the eye of NFL scouts.

Now Rice is one of the NFL's elite wide receivers. He would have played in the Super Bowl had it not been for an ACL injury.

"I know it's got to be hurting him bad. It hurts me because I know this is what he loves to do," Huff said.

But despite being surrounded by football, Rice has never forgotten his days on the court or his coaches. Shortly after the Seahawks beat the 49ers, Huff got a text from Rice asking him to be his guest at the big game.

Huff said Rice also invited two other basketball coaches, and he said the personal invitation shows Rice hasn't forgotten his roots.

"He is a tremendous young man, a tremendous athlete and he has not forgotten where he came from," Huff said.

Huff traveled to New York on Saturday to do some sight seeing before the game. And he sent back a photo of him proudly wearing his Gaffney Indians sweatshirt during the Super Bowl.

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