Obama's Redskins connection

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It was news last year when Barack Obama discovered that he and Vice President Dick Cheney were distant relatives. But the President-elect is also distantly linked to the Redskins.

While reviewing the materials of the 125 candidates for the Pro Football Hall of Fame — as the Washington selector I have to vote for 25 semifinalists by Monday — I noticed that former Cardinals and Chargers coach Don Coryell had gotten his start as an assistant at Punahou Academy in Honolulu. That happens to be the school where Obama, then known as Barry, starred in basketball nearly three decades later.

Coryell, of course, coached recently retired Redskins coached Joe Gibbs and current tight ends coach Rennie Simmons at San Diego State. Coryell later gave Gibbs his first college and pro coaching jobs: at San Diego State and with the Cardinals before making him the Chargers’ offensive coordinator in 1979. That’s what Gibbs was doing when he was first hired by the Redskins as their coach in 1981. 

— David Elfin



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About the Author
David Elfin

David Elfin

David Elfin has been following Washington-area sports teams since the late 1960s. David began his journalism career at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, the University of Pennsylvania (B.A., history) and Syracuse University (M.S., telecommunications). He wrote for the Bulletin (Philadelphia), the Post-Standard (Syracuse) and The Washington Post before coming to The Washington Times in 1986. He has covered colleges, the Orioles ...

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