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The story of Sal Aunese and his son Chase McCartney -- broken two decades ago by Westword -- comes full circle

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Timothy Chase McCartney bears a striking resemblance to his father. He's bigger and has a stronger arm, but otherwise it's "like seeing his ghost," LSU football coach Les Miles tells ESPN.com in a story about McCartney and his late father, Sal Aunese.

Miles should know. More than two decades before bringing McCartney to his LSU program as a preferred walk-on, Miles, then an assistant at the University of Colorado, recruited Aunese straight out of Vista High School in San Diego.

And now -- as the title of the ESPN piece suggests -- things have indeed come full circle, with the gifted quarterback's progeny playing for his dad's former coach. Well, actually, he hasn't technically played yet; the Fairview grad red-shirted his freshman year and has been third or fourth on the depth chart since. But just like how everyone pulled for his dad to beat the stomach cancer he was diagnosed with twenty years ago -- he eventually succumbed to it -- it would be heartwarming to see the young quarterback succeed in following in his father's footsteps.

The Saturday after Aunese died in October 1989, his teammates played a game at the University of Washington. Before the game, the players took a knee and pointed to the sky acknowledging Aunese's passing. It was a poignant moment that was relived last week -- thus the timing of the ESPN piece -- almost exactly twenty years after McCartney took the very same field with his LSU Tigers.

When McCartney was born in April of 1989 to Kristy McCartney -- the daughter of then coach Bill McCartney -- Westword actually broke the story that Aunese had fathered the boy out of wedlock, and it was quite the scandal. Members of CU's athletic department reportedly even drove all over town confiscating copies of the paper.

A baby out-of-wedlock? Oh the shame. If only that were the worst of the storied program's problems these days.

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Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


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