GK Letterman’s Jacket Found in Barcelona, Spain — 23 Years After Its Owner Last Saw It
For many former high school athletes, a letterman’s jacket becomes a special relic of the past—no longer worn on the field, but rather tucked away in a box or closet. But for at least one Genoa-Kingston High School graduate, his jacket was instead found inside a retail shop in Barcelona, Spain. And he’s not sure how it got there.
The discovery was made in February when the district received a message through its Instagram page from a British man who said he was an admirer of American football culture, and was hoping to authenticate a letterman’s jacket he found while shopping in Spain.
“I’m a huge American football fan from the UK,” his message began. “I’ve also always loved the varsity jackets that players get — (I’m) eternally jealous we never did this in the UK.”
“I was in Barcelona today and bought a jacket that was in great condition and went with my sneakers,” he explained. “Through some research it seems it might be one of yours?”
Along with his message he sent a photo: Hanging in a closet was an almost new-looking letterman’s jacket clad with orange leather sleeves and a blue chest, and donning recognizable GK patches—including one for a 1996 championship. The jacket also contained patches with the person’s name and graduation year: Kevin, 1999.
“Wow, that is amazing,” the man said. “It got all the way to Barcelona, and will be back in the UK with me; I will look after it.”
Using the information available through the jacket’s patches, a quick search through the 1999 yearbook uncovered the person as Kevin Tuggle — a former captain of the football team. Through social media, Tuggle was sent a message explaining the situation and was asked if he could explain his jacket’s journey overseas.
Surprised, Tuggle said the jacket was indeed his, but he was unsure how it wound up more than 4,000 miles from home. He last saw it over 23 years ago.
“That is so crazy, I can confirm that it is my jacket,” Tuggle said. “Unfortunately, there is no crazy backstory on how it ended up in Europe—at least to my knowledge. I lost the jacket my senior year in Harvard where we had regionals for basketball and I just thought it was gone. Funny to see it popped up in a store in Spain.”
Its new owner said he would be happy to send the jacket back to the United States if requested because he knows it could have sentimental significance.
“I’d consider it a big part of their life,” he said.
For now at least, it seems the twist of fate has put the jacket into capable and caring hands—albeit far from the Friday night lights it once glowed under. Still, with a new owner and renewed appreciation, perhaps the jacket has come out of retirement for its greatest comeback yet.
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