« Continue Browsing

e-mail article Print     e-mail article E-mail

Published February 03 2013

49ers comfort former NDSU football coach's son during illness

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — The son of a former South Dakota State and North Dakota State football coach had good reason to cheer for the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl. The NFL team supported him during a life-threatening illness.

Derek Daly, 24, son of former SDSU head coach Mike Daly, required emergency surgery to replace an aortic valve after a bacterial infection attacked his brain, eyes, and heart. Derek is expected to make a full recovery.

San Francisco General Manager Trent Baalke, a former SDSU and NDSU assistant coach, organized get-well videos from 49ers players, autographs, spots at team meals — and seats to Sunday's Super Bowl game against Baltimore.

“It's a really big positive,” Mike Daly said, “out of this tremendously negative situation.”

The Sioux Falls Argus Leader reports that the Baalke connection began in 1990 when Mike Daly, on the recommendation for longtime NDSU head coach Rocky Hager, hired Baalke to be SDSU's defensive line coach. Daly worked under Don Morton at NDSU.

Baalke was on the road and preparing for a game when he found out Derek Daly was ill. The 49ers executive, who was the athletic director at Shanley High School in Fargo, in the late 1990s, followed up immediately and was repeatedly texting, emailing and calling to check on the situation.

“It's really an example of what a class organization they have,” Mike Daly said. “It's neat to see a group of people that are the exact opposite of the stories we too often hear. Not that they aren't without controversy now and then, but it's just a phenomenal group. And Trent is up near the top of that.”

Alex Smith, who began the season as San Francisco's starting quarterback, is among the 49ers players who have taken an interest in Derek Daly. They have communicated often and met face-to-face before a divisional-round playoff game against the Packers.

Derek Daly, who graduated from Sioux Falls Lincoln High School and Augustana College, is doing well and has returned to graduate at the University of Iowa. But he jokes that he would prefer the 49ers not give his surgically repaired heart too much of a workout in the Super Bowl.

“It'll definitely get my heart rate going,” Derek said. “They've been that way all season. I said that to Trent, ‘You guys are bad for my heart — but keep winning.’ Thankfully, they have.”