EVANSTON, Ill. — Tory Lindley and Cody Cejda had never met each other when they started working at Northwestern University.
Not long after Cejda was hired by the Wildcats' football program four years ago, he perused the school's online bios of his new coworkers.
One stuck out: Lindley's.
"I was reading his bio ... and it said, 'He's a proud alumnus of Suttons Bay High School,'" said Cejda, a Kingsley graduate. "And when I saw that, I said, 'Wait a second. This guy went to one of our rival schools. I need to talk to him.' And I went over and said, 'Hey, Tory, I went to Kingsley' — and that completely changed the dynamic of our friendship."
Lindley, 43, is Northwestern's Associate Athletic Director and Director of Athletic Training Services, working mainly with the football team. Cejda, 27, was brought in four years ago as coordinator of player development, but worked his way up to director of football operations within two years.
The pair both graduated from Northwest Conference schools. And now they work at Northwestern.
"We always send a lot of texts back and forth when they're playing for the Brown Jug," Cejda said of the schools' annual gridiron rivalry clash. "We have some fun with it."
"It makes for some good banter back and forth," Lindley said. "We both have a lot of pride in where we came from — and still do. We keep close tabs with everything that goes on with athletics and otherwise."
In addition to going to nearby high schools, the pair went to rivals Michigan and Michigan State for college. "We're rivals of all sorts, that's for sure," Cejda said.
Both are connected to Traverse City West football coach Tim Wooer as well.
Lindley played against Wooer in basketball, where both were guards fighting for the Northwest crown.