East Chicago Central’s Kawann Short Super Bowl‐Bound with Panthers

Kawann-ShortOne homegrown Hoosier and a few players and coaches who called Indiana home for a period of time will be involved in Sunday’s Super Bowl 50 matchup between the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers.  

The only player on either team that played high school football in Indiana is Kawann Short, a starting defensive tackle for the Carolina Panthers. Short is a 2008 graduate of East Chicago Central High School, where he was a two‐sport athlete in both football and basketball. Short was a starting center for the Cardinals’ 2007 Class 4A state championship basketball team where he teamed with E’Twaun Moore, now with the Chicago Bulls, to beat North Central (Indianapolis), 87‐83. Watch that game here.

Like Moore, Short chose to play his collegiate years at Purdue University (2008‐12). Short was drafted by the Panthers in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft with the 44th selection overall and has been an impactful player in his brief time in the NFL. Short was praised for his work this year, as he was selected to his first Pro Bowl (did not play due to the Super Bowl). He also became the first player in NFL history to win NFC Defensive Player of the Month twice in the same season. His 11 regular‐season sacks were tied for the most by a tackle this year.

With a Carolina victory, Short would become the first Indiana native to play in and win an IHSAA basketball state championship and play in and win a Super Bowl, albeit with a technicality.  

Trai Essex was star of Harding’s 2001 2A state championship basketball team (24 points, 14 rebounds, game‐sealing FTs with 7.3 seconds left) and was a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2005 and 2008 Super Bowl champion teams, but didn’t play in either Super Bowl game.

One player for the Denver Broncos called Indianapolis his home for almost 15 years. That player, of course, is Peyton Manning, who is making his fourth appearance in the Super Bowl in his career, and his second as a Bronco. Manning is attempting to become the first quarterback to start and win a Super Bowl with two different teams. Manning is also the only quarterback to start four Super Bowls with four different head coaches.

Seven other players and five coaches between the two teams also have ties to the state.

Denver Broncos
David Bruton (Player)
#30, 7th year with Denver as a Safety (currently on IR)
University of Notre Dame (2005‐08)
Ryan Harris (Player)
#68, 9th year as an NFL Player, 3rd stint with the Denver Broncos
University of Notre Dame (2003‐2006)
Bill Kolar (Coach)
25th year of NFL coaching overall, 1st year with Denver as the Defensive Line Coach
Purdue University Defensive Line/Special Teams Coach (1988‐89)
Cody Latimer (Player)
#14, 2nd year with Denver as a Wide Receiver
Indiana University (2011‐13)
Brandon McManus (Player)
#8, 2nd year with Denver as a Kicker
Indianapolis Colts (2013 training camp)

Carolina Panthers
Mario Addison (Player)
#97, 5th season overall, 4th with Carolina as a Defensive End
Indianapolis Colts (2011‐12)
Pete Hoener (Coach)
17th year of NFL coaching overall, 5th with Carolina as the Tight Ends Coach
Indiana State University Offensive Line Coach/Offensive Coordinator (1978‐84)
Purdue University Offensive Line Coach (1989‐1991)
JJ Jansen (Player)
#44, 7th season with Carolina as a Long Snapper
University of Notre Dame (2004‐07)
Ricky Prohel (Coach)
5th year of NFL Coaching, all with Carolina as a Wide Receivers Coach
Indianapolis Colts Wide Receiver (2006)*
Russ Purnell (Coach)
26th year as NFL coaching overall, 1st year with Carolina as Assistant Special Teams Coordinator
Indianapolis Colts Special Teams Coordinator (2002‐2008)*
Steve Wilks (Coach)
10th year of NFL coaching overall, 4th year with Carolina as Secondary Coach (1st as Assistant Head Coach)
University of Notre Dame Secondary Coach (2004)
Teddy Williams (Player)
#21, 4th year as an NFL Player, 1st season with the Carolina Panthers as a Defensive Back
Indianapolis Colts (2012)

Special thanks to IHSAA Sports Administration intern Mitch Huppert, a Sport Management major at the University of Indianapolis and Bremen High School graduate, for compiling the information above from each team’s official website.