Ella Turner will graduate Saturday, like thousands of Purdue seniors.

She'll sit inside Ross-Ade Stadium and listen as President Mitch Daniels delivers his commencement speech and as names reverberate over a loudspeaker.

But Ella's commencement experience won't be like anyone else's. 

She'll be alongside her father, former Purdue football player and four-time Super Bowl champion Keena Turner. 

"It's exciting," Keena said, sitting on patio furniture outside the Union Club Hotel with his family Thursday. "I'm very excited for Ella. It's her day, and it's unbelievable that I get a chance to share it with her in this way." 

Keena played for Purdue from 1976 to 1979 and was drafted by the San Fransisco 49ers in 1980, where he played for 11 seasons. When he left Purdue, he didn't have enough credits to graduate.

Keena began his college career majoring in physical education, but he "moved around a bit" and finally landed on organizational leadership.

"I should have been in history, as many history classes that I took," he added.

In the later portion of his career, Keena enrolled in the University of San Fransisco. He eventually graduated from there after he retired. 

After he completed his degree, Keena's wife, Linda, told him he needed to get his Purdue degree, too, she recalled.

She initially tried talking to Purdue officials about Keena being able to graduate as a 50th birthday surprise in 2009. After her computer crashed and she lost contact with the person she was communicating with, Linda said she decided to move on.

But years later, when Ella decided to go to Purdue, the possibility presented itself again.

"(That) was exciting for me," Keena said. "Then my wife got started again, and said, 'Look, there may be an opportunity for you to walk with Ella' if I did those other two classes."

Those classes were physical geography and chain management. 

"The idea of walking with her was ..." he trailed off, his smile showing through his mask.

Keena finished his classes last summer but waited to graduate so he could do so with Ella — with her permission, of course. 

"I'm super proud of him," Ella said, "and it's so cool that we get to do this together. So it's gonna be fun."

Ella said she chose Purdue because it was the best school she was accepted to academically. But the connection to her father made it more special. 

"How could I not go there?" she asked. 

Ella majored in selling and sales management, and she plans to move to Arizona to begin her job hunt after graduation. 

Ella met some football players when she first got to Purdue and told them her dad played here, too, Linda said. Once the football players realized who her dad was, they told her his poster hangs in their building, and they walk past it every day.

"Do people even know my dad? He graduated 100 years ago," Linda recalled Ella saying. "No, he left 100 years ago," she corrected, as Ella laughed. "He won't graduate till this weekend."

Keena said he had different reasons for coming to Purdue. Unlike Ella, who arrived from the Turners's home in California, Keena grew up on the south side of Chicago. Proximity was a big factor. 

Keena was recruited by Alex Agase, who coached at Purdue for four years, compiling an underwhelming record of 18-25. Agase left the program after Keena's freshman season in 1976.

Keena was coached the next three years by Jim Young.

"Jim was good for me because he was pretty strict and organized, and I needed that. And we got pretty good while I was here," Keena said with a chuckle.

"Pretty good" might be an understatement. Keena and the Boilermakers defeated Georgia Tech in the Peach Bowl in 1978, and they beat Tennessee in the 1979 Astro-Bluebonnet Bowl.

"Neither of which exist anymore," Linda added, as her children laughed. 

"Well, Tennessee's still out there. And Georgia Tech is still out there," Keena responded, punching his right fist into his left hand.

Purdue was beating Notre Dame at home 24-14 going into the fourth quarter one day in 1977, when the Irish second-string quarterback broke his collarbone.

"We were kicking their butts," Keena said. "Somewhere in the third quarter, they finally looked down at the end of the bench and said, 'OK put him in.'"

"Him" was Joe Montana, who would become a world-famous NFL quarterback. 

"And the rest is history," Keena said. "He comes in, he beats us, he goes on to win a national championship.

"When I got drafted by the Niners the next year, I walked into the locker room. I said, 'Well, I know who that dude is,'" he said of spotting Montana. "We still have a little something about the Notre Dame thing, but I forgive him."

Keena pointed out that he was drafted in the second round, while Montana was drafted in the third. Keena still got one over him.

The pair ended up winning four Super Bowls in San Francisco. Keena was in the Pro Bowl in 1985. He played in the 1982 Super Bowl with chicken pox. 

Keena said he still keeps in touch with Montana. 

"They compare calves still to this day," Linda said.

Montana's calves are "definitely" smaller," Keena said. "Don't believe him."

Keena said he keeps up with a lot of former teammates, listing off names like Mark Herrmann, Bart Burrell and Pete Quinn. He even owned a car dealership with former defensive back Ronnie Lott.

"It's a lot like football," he said. "Its a very competitive, fast-paced-every-day business. I learned a lot."

Keena said he planned to see Herrmann on Friday, but nobody famous was coming to celebrate his graduation.

"This is all about Ella," he said.

Their son, Miles, who plays basketball at the University of Portland, said growing up with a famous dad just felt normal.

"If I sit down and think about it, yeah, it is kinda different, but it's just what we grew up around," he said.

Ella said she enjoys hearing new stories when the family talks to media.

"I learn new stuff every time we sit down and talk," Miles said, agreeing.

Jacob Peralta, a friend of Miles's who came into town to see Ella graduate, recalled when he first learned who his friend's dad was.

"When I was younger in high school, he showed me the Super Bowl rings. I'd never seen one up close," he said. "It was very cool."

Miles played football for a few years in high school, but because he wasn't allowed to play until eighth grade, he said he was already much more invested in basketball. 

Keeping football in the family, Ella is dating former Purdue wide receiver Rondale Moore, who was recently drafted No. 49 overall by the Arizona Cardinals.

"I feel like I've been around football for so long, so it's just normal," she said. "We grew up going to every Niners game."

After logging only 19 games at Purdue, Moore will join the likes of DeAndre Hopkins and A.J. Green in the Grand Canyon State. 

"He's got a great opportunity," Keena said. "That's about as great a fit for him and his skill set. He's got the right kind of attitude and demeanor. I'm not looking forward to playing him twice a year."

Keena works as vice president and senior adviser to the general manager of the 49ers. He has been working within the franchise since 1991, according to 49ers.com.

Asked what his favorite memory of Purdue is, Keena didn't skip a beat.

"I think it's gonna be Saturday," he said with a smile on his face. "I think that'll go down as my coolest memory."

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