Cross High School product Rod Wilson is a Super Bowl champion.
Wilson, 38, just finished his third season as a special teams assistant with the Kansas City Chiefs, winners of Super Bowl LIV on Sunday night.
The Chiefs rallied in the fourth quarter to knock off San Francisco, 31-20, in Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium.
In a previously-published Berkeley Independent story, Wilson said he carries Cross with him and takes pride in being from a small town. He believes kids should take aim at their wildest dreams and stick with it.
“I can sell anybody a diamond but who will buy a rock and believe me when I tell you there’s a diamond inside,” Wilson said in a 2016 story while he was a defensive assistant coach at Charleston Southern. “Sometimes you’ve just got to keep pounding it and keep believing you can be anything you want to be no matter where you’re from… Cross is a big part of who I am today.”
Wilson is the son of Paul and Patricia Wilson and has three brothers, Fred, Antonio and Derrick. He also has a son, Jaylen Wilson. The former four-sport athlete for the Trojans was a finalist for Mr. Football in 1999 and also a state champion in track and field.
“Without a doubt, Rod Wilson was one of the best athletes I’ve ever seen,” said Art Craig, who coached Wilson at Cross. “His leadership qualities are second to none.”
After a standout playing career at South Carolina — he played five different positions at USC — Wilson was a seventh-round draft pick of the Chicago Bears in 2005 and eventually played in one Super Bowl and two NFC Championship games as a linebacker. He also had stints with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Jacksonville Jaguars before finishing in 2010.
He got into college coaching at Charleston Southern in 2013 and helped the Buccaneers win a school record 35 games in four seasons.
Before being hired by Kansas City, Wilson had a brief stint with Furman. He was with the Paladins for less than a month before the NFL came calling.
Current Cross football coach and athletics director Shaun Wright heaped praise on Wilson.
“Rod Wilson is the product of hard work,” Wright said. “Rod was always determined to do his best in whatever he chose to do. Rod truly defied all odds by playing in the game to coaching and winning in the big game. What an example for the kids at Cross to see. The saying “it’s not where you from but where you’re at” is all fine and dandy but the folks in Cross always wear our emotions on our sleeves and this is big for our city and we don’t mind embracing that.”