OMAHA, Ne. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- Jim Hendry is a well-known figure around Omaha, as a former Creighton baseball coach and now MLB executive, but on opening day of the College World Series he was just a dad and a fan.

"Takes you back 30-35 years," Hendry said after watching Virginia play Florida.
 
Omaha has a way of bringing generations of baseball together.
 
"Probably been to 15-20 games in Omaha already," John Hendry said, "But being a part of the team now and in the dugout is obviously a better experience."
 
John Hendry is in year two on the Virginia baseball coaching staff as the director of player development and scouting, but the connection to Brian O'Connor goes back well before he was born.
 
"Hit me on Sunday, the old going full cycle," Jim Hendry said, "I've known Brian since he was 17 growing up right across the river from Omaha. John getting a great opportunity to begin his coaching career under Brian."
 

John's dad, Jim Hendry, coached a young Brian O'Connor at Creighton in the early 90's. The memories of the Blue Jays magical 1991 run to the College World Series still on display outside of Charles Schwab Field with "The Road to Omaha" statue.


"Just seeing pictures throughout time of Coach Oak playing at Creighton and obviously grew up always hearing about that team and how special it was," John Hendry said.
 
The dream for John was always to follow his dad's footsteps as a coach. Once he finished his career as a pitcher at the University of Indianapolis, a spot on O'Connor's coaching staff at UVA was only natural.
 
"I knew of him, I didn't know him that well," O'Connor said, "But I figured out quickly that he wanted to be a college baseball coach and Jim Hendry, his father gave me my start in my career and I owe a lot to what I have as a coach to him."
 
Jim Hendry hoped his son would get a chance with either O'Connor or longtime friend and O'Connor's mentor Paul Mainieri, but once Mainieri retired Hendry was on his way to Virginia.
 
"From a young age I always knew whenever it was time for me to pass up playing, which wasn't too long," Hendry said, "but just always wanted to be part of the game and just grateful for the opportunity from Coach O'Connor and the whole staff to be part of it and learn from them."
 
O'Connor sees many of the same traits in John as he did in the man who inspired his own coaching journey.
 
"John Hendry is very, very hard working," O'Connor said, "First guy in the office, last to leave, very diligent with his work, a lot of fun to be around and that's his father, he learned a lot from his dad. That's going to make him a very, very successful coach."
 
More than three decades later, O'Connor and a Hendry bring it full circle standing in an Omaha dugout.
 
"A life changing experience for me," John Hendry said, "Just really happy to be here, happy to be part of this team, part of this staff."
 
Jim believes his son has learned more in two years with O'Connor than a lifetime with him about being a coach and hopes John heads down a similar path.
 

"One good thing about my son is I think he realizes how fortunate he is, he's always wanted this career," Jim Hendry said, "If he can end up somehow, some way being a lot like Brian O'Connor I'd be a really happy father."