Sunday Conversation: Coach Jason Washington

In the second of a series, today we learn more about one of the youngest, and most energetic, Rice Football coaches...

One of the youngest members of the coaching staff, Rice Cornerback's Coach Jason Washington brings an infectious enthusiasm to the field each time he steps on the Rice turf. It was the same approach he took as a player at Southwest Texas State, now Texas State, in becoming one of the Southland Conference's finest defensive players as a cornerback himself. In our second feature on the coaches of the Rice Football program we have the pleasure of learning more about the coach "who's always smiling."

OD: Coach you haven't been doing this long but it seems you were born to do it – when did you think coaching might become a career for you?

I always have been interested in pursuing a career in coaching, ever since I was a young boy. I enjoyed the team atmosphere, the diversity, and the competition. As I matured, my aspirations grew stronger. A variety of different coaches influenced and encouraged me and they made huge impressions on what I wanted to do in my future.'

OD: I know you have a real passion for teaching the game, what are the ups and downs of coaching?

"The best part of coaching is I'm able to make an impact on young men's lives. I have a chance to be a role model, dad, a disciplinarian, and sometimes a best friend to so many young student athletes. I'm able to be around them on a daily basis as they mature and hopefully I have an opportunity to shape their lives as they continue to grow into men. The time commitment is probably the hardest part of any coach's job. Being away from my new wife, family, and friends is tough with this profession. I really miss some important times with significant others."

OD: I've watched you coach on the field and you always seem to be full of energy and want the same from your players. How would you describe your style of coaching?

" I believe that I am a coach that wants to treat his players with a positive attitude and I treat them with respect. I want them to feel my energy and passion about their well-being as well as the game of football and life. I am caring and fun, but also fair and demanding. I keep a smile on my face and I always want my players to remember (Mark 9:23) "All things are possible for those who believe."

OD: Expand on that a little further - how would you like to be remembered as a coach?

" I want my players to remember how I approached each day with a positive attitude and a passion to work with a giant smile on my face. I also want my players to remember that I will always be there for them, long after football."

OD: Rice student athletes are obviously a very intelligent bunch and most coaches from previous eras often remarked on how special Rice football player are. Would you agree?"

"Of course. The young men that I coach are extremely special. Their priorities are straight and they have a vision for their future in football and beyond. They are very goal-oriented in what comes beyond the game of football. They are good kids of character and moral citizens. Their parents deserve a lot of the credit for that."

OD: You were a pretty good athlete in your right (Washington was the San Antonio Defensive Player of the Year at San Antonio MacArthur HS hi senior year) before you got into coaching, what was your most memorable experience as a player, then, as a coach.

"I was in my Junior year at SWT and we had our last game of the season coming up against Sam Houston State in which we had hopes of making a playoff at large birth. That week before the game my grandfather got ill and suddenly passed away. It devastated me and I was unsure if I wanted to participate in the game, but I knew my grandfather wanted me to be there. Well, I played in the game and intercepted a pass and returned it for a touchdown to basically seal the game and the win. I know he was watching and smiling once I crossed that goal line. As a coach that one is pretty simple... when my boss (Coach Bailiff) hired me and also when he asked me to be a part of his staff at Rice University! One of the best, and most fortunate times of my life."

OD: When you recruit you are telling a story about Rice. What do you say?

"First, of course, the academics are superior. A degree from Rice is an opportunity for you to enjoy a great future. This education puts you at the top of the list while competing in a tough job market. Second, the atmosphere is home like - a small University, with a small student body where you're not just a number! The city of Houston that we live in is tremendous with many opportunities to accomplish many objectives. On the football field, we compete in a great conference and carry a great tradition of excellence. How many times can a University say that they have the "3 PACK": phenomenal academics, premier athletics, and an amazing city to live in. Not too many!"

OD: In watching the Hall of Fame induction ceremony yesterday all of the players mentioned coaches that had impacted their lives. Is there one that's influenced your life in particular?"

" David Bailiff is the one that has influenced my life. I have grown up watching him throughout his years coaching and have been an observer, a player, and coach for him. I get amazed by how special he is in my profession and in my life. He gave me a chance to play for him at SWT and he's the one that gave me my first job. Hopefully I can follow in his footsteps and lead a team to stardom!"

OD: I know you work with a lot of young athletes at camps. What advice do you give them?

" My advice for the youth is to work hard everyday and to do the ordinary things better than everyone else. Don't take any days for granted and to live life to the fullest. Approach each day with a mindset to work to get better. Last, I tell them to always "believe in yourself"."

OD: Last question Coach: Rice Football is…

" Rice Football is about to Dominate In 08!

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