Q: How does it feel to be able to lay roots in the Pacific Northwest since playing at Washington State University, the Seahawks, and now coaching at Monroe High School?
A: It’s pretty cool. I was fortunate to come up here when I was 18 years old, went to Washington State and had a chance to play here for a bit. Even after this, I went to Canada with the BC Lions. My wife kept me around. She’s from Monroe. I think maybe if I didn’t meet her, I’d probably be somewhere else. It’s just crazy how life works, and I’m just blessed to keep getting opportunities to stay up here. Her whole life is here. I’m the only child and she has a huge family.
Q: How would you describe your journey as a high school coach?
A: When I first started coaching with Redmond, I hit up one of my old college coaches and I said, "Man, I want to start coaching." I’m thinking he’s going to help me out and get me a college gig or something like that, and he sends me to high school and he says, "Hey, that’s where I started." I worked there for three years and I had my first child. I took a year off just to figure things out. I took a year off from football and I realized football was such a big part of my life. I need it in my life. It’s a big part of who I am. We moved to Monroe and at that time, Snohomish had a job opening there so I applied, and they gave me the opportunity there. I was there for a year and then the Monroe job opened. I’ve been so blessed that things happened the way things were supposed to happen. It’s been such a smooth transition from not playing, to coaching, to getting an opportunity here as a radio analyst. I’m just a lucky dude.
Q: How has going from a player to a coach changed your view on football?
A: As a player, you kind of just focus on your job. Once you get acclimated, you start focusing on other people’s positions and jobs. As a player, you’re like okay, what do I have to do to make this team great. As a coach, you have to look at every single position, every team, every player from your ones to your threes. You get a greater appreciation for just how hard coaches have to work, especially high school coaches. We don’t get paid much, we really do it for the love and if you want to do it correctly, you need to put in the time.
Q: What has been the most challenging part of coaching high school football?
A: Learning to coach kids. Kids are different these days than when I grew up. You deal with social media and the internet. When I was coming up, all that stuff was just getting going so it wasn’t as intricate as it is now. I talked to my head coach from high school and he said it’s harder to coach high school kids now than it was back then just because there’s so much they can get into. There’s so much information you can get. You have to keep an eye out for your kids. You’re more than just a coach. You’re a mentor, you’re a role model. I’m just really adjusting from being all about myself to opening up and helping kids any way I can.
Q: What has been your proudest moment as a coach?
A: We went 10-2, two years ago. Probably the best team to come out of Monroe, so that’s fun. Doing something that has never been done is always awesome. We have a good group of kids, good staff, good town. It was my proudest moment because no one really expects Monroe to do anything. We’re a small town and you have the Eastlakes and the Skylines. So for a team out of Monroe to make a lot of noise was great. You can see the pride in the town. It was like Remember the Titans. People were rushing the streets and parades and stuff. It was a great experience.
Q: What is a lesson that you learned early in your football journey that you share with your team?
A: Always be prepared. Every opportunity I’ve had in football was because someone wasn’t getting the job done or someone got hurt and I got my number called. I was fortunate enough to do something with it. I tell my kids to prepare for everything and when you think you’ve got it all figured out, find something else to prepare for because you never know what’s going to happen or when an opportunity is going to arise for you. When you get that opportunity, take it and be confident because you know you’ve prepared for this moment.
Q: Who is someone that you would say you admire in the coaching world?
A: Ironically, Mike Tomlin and we just played him last week. Obviously, he’s one of the few African American head coaches in the game. I like the way he carries himself. He’s straightforward, there’s no BS. He shows he has a personality but he’s also a corrective, which is how I want to run my program. I want to have fun with you, but when it’s time for work it’s time for work.
Q: What inspired you to create Separate and Accelerate WR and Elite Training Academy?
A: I was in Snohomish county and I’m with these parents who want me to train their kids because they knew I played ball. I realized they were going far to get training and I thought that there is so much talent in Snohomish county, why not keep them here and foster that in the county so we all can grow together. I just wanted kids to have a place that was one, affordable, and two, have a place that isn’t 50 miles down the road.
Q: What is a lesson that you have learned from the people that you have mentored?
A: I’ve learned that every situation is different, and you can’t approach each individual, each organization with the same mentality. You have your core values and your philosophies, but at the end of the day, you have to adjust it to make it work for that situation. If you go in with the same mindset in every situation, just like in football, a third and one is different than a first and ten. You can’t approach it the same way. Just being flexible, always being true to who you are and your core philosophies, in certain situations, you’re going to have to bend a little bit.
Q: Has there been a moment during a radio show that stands out to you the most?
A: The first time I met Steve Raible stands out just because you hear his voice, I could be asleep, and I know what Steve’s voice sounds like. When I met him and I’m on the stage with Dori Monson and Dave Wyman and all those I’m like wow, I’m really apart of this team now. I’m very grateful. Meeting Raibs was like okay, I’m here now, let’s do something with this.