When he was hired to coach the Rising Sun High School football team, Rich Opp recounted a story that led him to step down from an assistant coaching position with the Tigers more than 14 years ago.
Opp vividly recalled how heartbreaking it was to see his son, Luke, waving goodbye as Opp pulled out of the driveway to head to a game.
It prompted Rich Opp to get out of coaching, but the Rising Sun High teacher returned recently to coach the JV squad and then was chosen to replace Clem Vaughan as varsity coach.
Luke is one of the players he is coaching and is also in one of his father's classes. "You get used to it," Luke said.
"It's a blessing to have this opportunity. Not every kid can say this get this chance."
Rich Opp admits it's an "interesting dynamic" but not something that has created the slightest bit of turmoil.
"It's business as usual," Rich Opp said. "It's comfortable and it's normal, but I'm sure I'm tougher on him than the other kids."
The arrangement has become commonplace in recent years. Rich Opp coached Luke on the JV team for two seasons and was also a junior football coach when Luke was an eighth grader.
"He's the one who taught me the fundamentals," Luke proudly says of his dad.
The summer was filled with football talk and Rich thinks Luke might have gotten a little weary. "I told him we could talk about football or the Civil War," the elder Opp said.
That didn't phase Luke, who, like his father, also enjoys history. They have something else in common, too. "We're similar," Luke said. "We both always think we're right."
Luke is expected to see time at receiver for the Tigers this fall. So what happens if Luke does not get a lot playing time or if dad does not call for pass plays to Luke? Will Luke turn to a higher autority, his mom, Carey?
As of now, Luke doesn't plan to play that card unless it becomes absolutely necessary. "I think I'll talk to my dad first," he wisely said.
Rich realizes he may eventually have to answer some questions.
“Just like with other things I'm sure I will hear about it as always," the coach joked. "I'm only the king out here on the football field."
While father and son don’t mind kidding with each other, neither party expects any problems.
"I'm blessed that this has happened," Luke said. "I'm going to take advantage of each second."