Family Weekend 2023
Falcon football alumni and fathers of current players, from left, Shawn Simms, Kinta Mitchell, Chioke Bradley, Josh Harris and Lee Boyer pose for a photo during the Falcons/Zips game where they presided over the coin toss with their co-captain sons. (BGSU photo/Craig Bell)

Falcons Football Legacy: Group of former players - who also are fathers of five current Falcons - unite for coin toss on Family Weekend

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The BGSU football program also boasts a fourth-generation Falcon on the team, with the Boyer family tracing gridiron greatness back to their great-grandfather

During Falcon Family Weekend, a historic event took place prior to kickoff at Doyt L. Perry Stadium as BGSU took on Akron. Five former Falcons football players, who are fathers to five current members of the team, gathered to conduct the coin toss for the game between the Falcons and the Zips, celebrating both the legacy of BGSU football and the strong family ties that have spanned generations.

Inside linebacker Jabari Mitchell of Reynoldsburg, Ohio; outside linebacker Myles Bradley of Mansfield, Ohio; tight end Jacob Harris of Westerville, Ohio; safety Trent Simms of Toledo, Ohio; and tight end Bryce Boyer of Whitehouse, Ohio, watched as their fathers, Kinta Mitchell, Chioke Bradley, Josh Harris, Shawn Simms and Lee Boyer, respectively, took the field for the pre-game ceremony.

The football journey has come full circle for the Simms family, as father Shawn Simms played from 1981-85 as an outside linebacker, inside linebacker and strong safety. Son Trent Simms chose to make his mark at BGSU to his dad’s delight. 

“I came to Bowling Green and had a pretty good career and won a lot of ball games. And then I got married and had a couple little boys. My youngest son grew up and had Bowling Green looking at him. When he said, ‘Dad, I want to go to Bowling Green,’ I said I couldn’t be happier,” Shawn Simms said. “Being part of the football team, part of the Falcons, we still get together. Falcons that I played with 30 years ago, we still get together. 

“And now my son's here. And you know, he's going to feel what I've been feeling for all these years. Having your offspring at the same school that you went to -- I can’t tell you how great I feel.”

For Josh Harris, who was a BGSU quarterback from 2000 to 2003, it was a source of pride to see his son, Jacob, follow in his footsteps as a Falcon and be named a co-captain for the game. 

"BGSU is an amazing place. It has great history and is a great University," he remarked. “It’s been amazing for the family and now to have my son playing here is awesome.

“He’s going to pave his own way at BGSU, so that’s pretty cool. Bowling Green is a special place that keeps on giving back to our family.”

Josh Harris is a BGSU hall of fame member after becoming the second (at the time) college football player with 40 career passing touchdowns and 40 career rushing touchdowns. He was drafted in the sixth round by the Baltimore Ravens in 2004. 

The generations of Falcons on the field also embodied the University’s status as the top public University in the Midwest and beyond that students would choose again, and at the No. 1 University in Ohio – public or private – for student experience. 

This family gathering occurred as the Falcons earned a definitive 41-14 victory against Akron, providing a fitting backdrop to this unique moment in the team's history.

Sports are a family affair for many of these Falcons. Freshman Jabari Mitchell’s father, Kinta, played for the Falcons from 1995-2000 and his mother, Tiffany, also attended BGSU. 

Kinta Mitchell still counts his teammates as some of his closest friends and is happy that his son, Jabari, will be able to make the same kind of lifelong connections. 

“Being a BGSU football player meant everything. It was awesome – just the camaraderie I had with the players I came in with. I mean, I’m still friends with them to this day,” Kinta Mitchell said. “When Jabari wanted to come here, oh man, that was awesome. I mean, that means everything to me. He said he wanted to come here and I was jumping for joy.”

The Falcon family connection extends to redshirt freshman Myles Bradley, who was coached by his father, Chioke, while at Mansfield. Myles’ sister Lacee plays women’s soccer at BGSU. 

One family, in particular, holds a remarkable Falcon legacy. The Boyer family, represented by senior middle childhood education major Bryce Boyer, has four generations that have played football for the Falcons. Bryce follows in the footsteps of his father Lee, his grandfather Chester, and his great-grandfather Rodney, all of whom have been part of BGSU football. This lineage likely makes the Boyers the only four-generation family in NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) history, establishing a direct paternal line of son to father to grandfather to great-grandfather legacy.

Jabari Mitchell
Jabari Mitchell
Myles Bradley
Myles Bradley
Jacob Harris
Jacob Harris
Trent Simms
Trent Simms
The Boyer family has four generations of Falcon football players. (BGSU photo/Craig Bell)

This historic day included football and more; it was about tradition, family and the enduring spirit of the Falcons. It was a reminder of both the strong bonds that tie families to Bowling Green State University and the success that BGSU student-athletes build for themselves generation upon generation. 

The University’s full support of student-athletes also is evident with BGSU Athletics and the Office of Student-Athlete Services’ commitment to a holistic support system for student-athletes through the Life Design program. This support differentiates BGSU Athletics from our peers and provides an enhanced experience for all student-athletes. At BGSU, at least 80% of student-athletes carry a 3.0 GPA, with 11% holding a 4.0 GPA, and BGSU student-athletes have an 89% graduation success rate.  

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Media Contact | Michael Bratton | | 419-372-6349

Updated: 10/30/2023 09:58AM