Tri-City wrestling coaches share brotherly love during Super Bowl XLVII

By Sara Schilling, Tri-City HeraldFebruary 4, 2013 

As John and Jim Harbaugh made history Sunday by becoming the first brothers to face off as head coaches in the Super Bowl, two local siblings watched the game side-by-side.

And they knew a little something about what the Harbaughs must have been feeling.

Brothers Jack and Jordan Anderson coach wrestling at two different high schools in the Tri-Cities -- Jack at Chiawana High in Pasco, and Jordan at Kamiakin High in Kennewick.

Their teams faced each other in a dual meet last month -- a match they plan to make a tradition called the Battle of the Bridge. Jack's Riverhawks walked away with the win and bragging rights.

And also a plaque dad Jack Sr. bought with the idea it would go home each year with the victors.

"It was rough. They put a beating on us," said Jordan, 25, as he sat on Jack's couch in Pasco on Sunday afternoon, waiting for the game the begin. "But I know our dad was very proud of us, to see us both out there doing the job that we love."

The brothers grew up in Kennewick and attended Kamiakin, wrestling all four years.

They also went onto wrestle in college and earn teaching degrees -- following their dad into the field of education. Jack Sr. is a longtime Kennewick School District administrator.

Jordan is in his second year as Kamiakin's head coach. Jack, the big brother at 35, has been at Chiawana since it opened in the fall of 2009.

Before that, he spent several years coaching and teaching at Pasco High School and also worked for a time as a Richland police officer.

There's no doubt the brothers are competitive, facing off in everything from pickup basketball to Jeopardy during the years.

But they still leave room for brotherly love.

Jordan said it was Jack who first inspired him to try wrestling: As a boy, "I saw him wrestle. I looked up to him, so I wanted to do whatever he did."

Jack, who was coaching at Pasco High when Jordan was in high school wrestling for the Braves, recalls the conflicting emotions he'd feel when their teams would meet on the mats.

"It was weird because you're coaching your team that you're building, and you want your guys to win. And then they would compete against your brother," Jack said. "It was kind of a weird situation because you want them both to do well."

The Andersons are in similar territory now that they're coaching for different schools. Both said they want their brother to succeed.

It helps that their schools are in different classifications -- Chiawana is 4A and Kamiakin is 3A. "I wouldn't be rooting for him if he was 4A and I was 4A and his guys were knocking my guys off at the district tournament," Jack said with a grin.

They have similar coaching styles, they said, and look to each other for advice and to talk shop.

They're pretty good at ribbing each other, too.

Jordan teased Jack about being old. Jack reminded Jordan of the time they wrestled each other in front of both their teams. "I took him down a couple times," Jack said, though Jordan said he didn't remember that happening.

As the game flashed on the TV screen, Jack's wife, Marisa, popped in and out of the kitchen and their kids -- Isaiah, 9, Isabel, 7, Mylie, 5 and Baylie, 21/2 -- played in the living room.

The kids have grown up in the wrestling world. Isaiah has taken up the sport; he said he loves it.

"It really is a family deal," Jack said. "This sport... (it's) become this passion of our whole family."

One that seems to have brought them closer, even as it's pitted brother against brother.

Jack and Jordan got back to watching the game. Neither was a die-hard fan of either football team.

Jordan said he roots for the Cowboys and stopped paying attention after they were out.

And Jack? Who would he pull for?

The big brother couldn't resist. "Whoever he roots for," he said, nodding toward Jordan, "I'll go against it."

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