Strength coach supplants Bryce Love as Stanford's biggest star, thanks to 'The Bachelor'

Stanford football generated a lot of media interested Tuesday, which seems easy enough to explain.

It was the first day of spring practice and the Cardinal, the West Coast's most consistently dominant program over the past decade or so, return the Heisman Trophy runner-up, running back Bryce Love.

So, understandably, the team's media relations staff was busy fielding interview requests. Except, almost all of them were for ... a sports performance coach. And they were coming in from places like TMZ, People and US Weekly.

Ross Jirgl was thrust into the national spotlight Monday night when he appeared on an episode of ABC's "The Bachelor" in an attempt to win back his ex-girlfriend, Becca Kufrin, a contestant on the show. Jirgl's attempts at winning her back were rebuffed, but in the wake of his appearance, he has developed somewhat of a cult following of fans from the popular show.

Those around the Stanford program had known for months that Jirgl's ex-girlfriend was a contestant on the show; during the fall, he left for a couple of days to make a trek to Peru, where an episode of "The Bachelor" would be filmed. Until the show teased his appearance in recent weeks, no one knew he was actually going to be featured, but rest assured, players and athletic department staffers were glued to their TVs for the episode's airing.

Before heading to Peru, Jirgl did his research. He tracked down contact information for producers from the show and reached out to see if there was a way he could meet up with Kufrin. They were receptive to the idea.

"He didn't really want to be on the show," a Stanford source said. "He just wanted to find her and plead his case before something happened."

For now, Jirgl is laying low, but his phone has been ringing nonstop and his Instagram following has grown from under 1,000 followers to nearly 17,000 in less than 48 hours.