GREEN BAY, Wis. -- He might be a Chicago Bears fan, but Austin Scheutz proudly displays a Packers foam cheesehead at least once a year.
Signed by the Big Cheese himself in fact -- Packers coach Mike McCarthy -- while he visited a children's hospital where the 6-year-old Scheutz was being treated for leukemia. After family and coaching, the hospital might be McCarthy's biggest passion -- even if it means running into the occasional Bears fan.
"That's always an interesting conversation," joked McCarthy about interactions with fans of the Packers' bitter NFC North rival. McCarthy, of course, is dressed in green Packers sweats after an offseason team workout.
One of the longest-tenured coaches in the NFL is entering his ninth year in Green Bay and it sure looks like home. McCarthy's roots in blue-collar western Pennsylvania have made him a sensible fit in the Upper Midwest, shaping everything from how he runs his team to how he spends his precious free time off the field.
McCarthy's back story is familiar now in Wisconsin. His father was a policeman and fireman. Family owned a bar near a steel mill. Worked as a highway toll collector on the graveyard shift to make money while working as a volunteer assistant at the University of Pittsburgh.
He grew up watching the Pittsburgh Steelers while they were coached by Chuck Noll, who died last month.
"He was someone I like to emulate. I was a big fan as a kid," McCarthy said. "After getting in to the coaching profession, I really appreciated him a lot more, his approach, his style, his humility. He seemed like a very consistent, tough champion."