YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A Warren G. Harding teacher from Girard is preparing to watch his favorite team head to the Super Bowl Sunday.
Fred Whitacre, Jr. has been a fan of the San Francisco 49ers since he was about five years old.
“My father and I were going to a garage sale in Hubbard and I found a hat that had a radio attached to it. It was like built into the hat. And it had these little headsets and this little antenna thing, and it was a 49ers one,” he said.
He started wearing his favorite hat all the time, and before you knew it his interest and love for the 49ers grew.
Since then, he’s developed a great passion for football and for the team.
“I fell in love with Joe Montanna and the 49ers and ever since then I’ve just been a mega fan,” he said.
Whitacre has collected countless 49ers items over the years, many of which are autographed by players and former players.
Some items date back to his childhood.
“I have a light switch over here that I probably got when I was like, I don’t know, 11 or so,” he said. “[My wife and I] started kind of collecting things together and that’s how we’ve amassed all of these different things.”
He has also taken his love for the team to his classroom. He even made a bet with students that the 49ers would go to the Super Bowl. As a prize, students had to go on camera and state that his team was the best team.
“I have to say that the 49ers are the best team in the NFC and that they are very dominant,” one student said in a video.
Whitacre said he knew the team would make it this far and he is excited to watch them in the big game this Sunday.
Editor’s note: This story has been corrected to show that Whitacre is a teacher at Warren G. Harding, not Girard. We regret the error.