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City abuzz over Harbaugh donning Watsonville Fire cap

Modified: Friday, Feb 8th, 2013

San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh follows his shot from the third tee of the Monterey Peninsula Country Club Shore Course during the first round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am golf tournament on Thursday in Pebble Beach. (Associated Press)

WATSONVILLE — Talk about a great way to cap the week: Officials in Watsonville are abuzz over photos circulating in the media and on the Internet of San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh sporting a Watsonville Fire Dept. hat while playing golf at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

Watsonville Fire Capt. Matt Ryan said he was “very touched” when he learned about the hat and said he saw it as a compliment to the department. Ryan said former Watsonville firefighter Scott Hervey, who serves as a shuttle driver at the Pro-Am, handed Harbaugh the hat and the rest is history.

“I drove him to tee time out at the Monterey Peninsula Country Club Thursday, and we’re chit-chatting and I had the hat sitting there on the console,” Hervey, who retired in 2000, said. “I thought it would be a nice gesture to give it to him. So he puts the hat on and says, ‘Hey, this feels good,’ and he wore it the rest of the day. He’s just a super nice guy. My phone has been burning up ever since.”

“I just think it’s wonderful,” said Watsonville City Councilwoman Nancy Bilicich. “I mean, this is the coach who went to the Super Bowl and is a national figure. I was so impressed. You know, I am a season ticket holder; I go to all the games. When I saw Harbaugh wearing that hat on TV it was so exciting. He could have been wearing a 49ers hat, but he chose to wear a hat from our town, little old Watsonville.”

Bilicich said she is planning to send Harbaugh a note of appreciation for the gesture.

“I am an avid fan,” she said. “It only makes sense to pay thanks.”

Watsonville Fire Capt. Fernando Tapiz said the department is lit up over the incident.

“Yeah, we’re excited,” Tapiz said. “I thought it was kind of neat. I mean, after making it to the Super Bowl — to come to the Monterey Bay and put on a local cap — it’s a real tribute and, to us, it says something special. We’ve been getting emails from all over.”

“Everybody is trying to figure out where the hat came from,” Hervey said. “It’s amazing, all this over a hat.”

For the complete article see the 02-09-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 02-09-2013 paper.

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