Bo Hann comes from a big family.
So big, that when the recent Missoula Big Sky graduate, his brother and parents moved over 2,000 miles from Virginia to the Garden City two years ago, there was hardly enough room for Hann.
“He had to live in the garage,” Bo’s dad, Mark, said with a chuckle.
There were four generations and nine family members briefly living under the same roof after the cross country move. That’s where Bo lived to begin his junior year of high school and first at Big Sky.
“It was a little bit tight living with a whole bunch of family members, but it was a great time,” Bo said.
He’s used to tight quarters, after all. Among his numerous family members — including a Korean contingent still in Virginia — Bo might just be the biggest. It has served the all-state offensive lineman well and should continue to do so Saturday at the Knights of Columbus Badlands Bowl in Miles City.
Bo actually wasn’t born Bo, but he was born big. The 10½ pound baby, according to his dad, was named David Bo-Hee Han. Growing up, his cousin called him baby Bo and the name stuck.
“I didn’t even know my name was David growing up,” the Big Sky lineman said after Badlands practice.
So he became Bo, short for his Korean middle name. Bo’s dad moved to the United States when he was 10 years old and his family settled in Virginia. Bo grew up in the Old Dominion state when he wasn’t spending his summers in Missoula.
Out East was where he developed his love to fish — bass fishing in Virginia, now mostly fly fishing here in Montana.
It was also where he learned to play football.
Bo didn’t play the sport until his freshman season — Virginia’s peewee football rules regulated on weight rather than age, according to Mark, and Bo was always bigger than kids in his own grade. By freshman year, though, the fisherman and baseball player could finally play the game for which he was built.
“When he finally picked up football, he couldn’t believe he could actually use his weight and speed and get to hit people,” Bo’s dad said.
Now an even 6 feet tall and 250 pounds, Bo was built for the interior line. He played center and guard at Marshall High School in Falls Church, Virginia — a high school that has a bit of notoriety. Marshall lost to T.C. Williams high school in 1971, depicted in the movie "Remember the Titans." It was a famous fact not lost on Bo’s new football team in Missoula.
“We used to always give him a hard time — ‘Hey, we watched the movie Bo, we know you guys got beat,’ ” Big Sky head coach Matt Johnson said.
Marshall got beat eight times during Bo’s sophomore season, as he and 10 other underclassmen started that year. Bo was one of the team’s MVPs at offensive line, according to Mark, and a big part of the plan for the team’s future.
But the Hanns wanted to move out of the Washington, D.C., area. Mark retired from the police force and Bo and his family headed to Missoula. Both big in size and charisma, Bo fit into his new home quickly — even if he was relegated to the garage sometimes.
“He fit in with our kids right away, just having that upbeat personality and proving that he was willing to work in the weight room and on the field,” coach Johnson said. “It didn’t take more than two days for people to go, ‘All right, Bo is awesome.’ ”
And his play was a welcome addition, too, even if it didn’t translate into wins right away.
The season before Bo arrived, the Eagles were 8-4 overall and a Class AA playoff team. Bo’s junior year — his first in Missoula — Big Sky went 2-8.
“It was funny to move from a 2-8 school to go to a 2-8 school,” Bo said. “But the things that the coaches taught me back at Marshall really helped me be a good leader on the team my senior year and helped us get to the playoffs.”
Bo played left tackle in the losing season his first year in Missoula. It was a new position for the lineman. His senior year, with a punishing rushing attack that featured bruising quarterback Levi Janacaro, Bo moved back to the middle of the unit.
“Interior line is like fighting someone in the closet and playing tackle,” said Hann, explaining the differences in positions. “Left tackle is like trying to catch up to someone to fight someone in the hallway or in the auditorium. It’s a lot of room to work with and I just wasn’t used to it.
“I was really glad I got moved back to guard, it’s where I feel most comfortable… And especially with Levi in the backfield; he’s a tank so why not use it?”
Last season was also Bo’s first playing both sides of the ball for a full game. On offense, he was an all-state lineman his senior year, but his defense earned him a spot on a college roster. He’ll join the Montana Tech football team in the fall.
Oddly enough, it’s his size that may have kept him off other college rosters. Bo, always big for his age, is actually small when it comes to college football linemen.
“I’m sitting about 6-foot, 250, which I guess if I’m walking around the street doesn’t look too small, but when I’m out on the football field in the trenches, there’s some people that are out there at 6-foot-5,” said Bo, who may match up against a 300-plus pounder from North Dakota on Saturday.
But Bo’s best trait on the gridiron — even more than his bulk — is the size of his heart. Even though he’s a gentle giant, performing in school plays and fishing in the offseason, he’s ferocious on the field.
“He grows a horn when he’s on the football field but after the game is over, everybody goes up to him and he’ll tell them ‘great game,’” Mark said.
And in football, that’s often what really matters.