PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State football head coach Jake Dickert sat down with our Travis Green before Friday's Sun Bowl game against Central Michigan.
Travis Green: How did you get so into football in the first place?
Jake Dickert: Well, I think it started off, I mean, it's just a little bit in my blood, like we were raised in a sports family and my dad actually had the opportunity to coach us when we were little all the way up. But, when we were young, we played everything - football, basketball, my dad's passion was always baseball and that's what he always wanted us to do. But, I just grew up around all the games and just in those small town communities, like in Wisconsin, that's what you did. And I love competing. So, it's just a natural fit for me.
Travis Green: How did you levitate towards football, though, out of all those?
Jake Dickert: Well, I was a big basketball player, right, and that was like my passion. And then I was this tall ever since I was in sixth grade. So, I just kind of leveled out right, and athleticism, and everything kind of faded. Then I found, you know, my passion for football. And then just moving around, like I moved six times as a kid. And then I moved my senior season, my dad got a new job, and just kind of got lost back in those days, the recruiting was different, you know, so I moved to a really, really small town. Our graduating class was 27 Kids, nine senior boys. So, it just ended up where one school, UW Stevens Point, just kind of found me and they wanted me to join the football team. I was like, let's do it. So that's kind of how I gravitated towards football. Football kind of chose me.
Travis Green: So you say you moved around a lot? Because of your dad's job?
Jake Dickert: Yeah, he was in education, you know, so he was a teacher and then like, by the time I was kindergarten age, he was the principal of the school right? So, that's like torture. Then when I was in high school, he was the superintendent. So, try to get away with anything, right? In school that was always hard. The best part is my brother blazed the trail. So, he made it really easy for me.
Travis Green: So you knew what you couldn't do< (because of your brother)
Jake Dickert: Oh, there's no question! He made it easy for me! I was like, man, I just don't want to do that. Alright, because he got in trouble for that.
Travis Green: Went to Wisconsin Stevens Point, as a wide receiver. I saw you had two great seasons? Your final seasons, right? The team voted on you as Captain?
Jake Dickert: I was. Well, the funny thing was I went in as a quarterback, you know, even to this day, like when I'm throwing to the linebackers I tell them "hey, I was a quarterback" and I always say I was so good that I moved to wide receiver. I got beat out. And I was like, "Coach, I know I can play like I want to go play wide receiver" and I was just such a competitor that it just, it was a natural fit. Now, I was one of those receivers that if I caught a six yard pass, I just leaned forward to get seven. I wasn't taking it to the house by any means. I was a possession receiver at 5'10", which those aren't in high demand at all.
Travis Green: The big question that I have, when I look over all that, how does a solid college wide receiver wind up coaching defense?
Jake Dickert: I asked my college coach if I could do the graduate assistant cause I had an opening and he thought about it and he was like, "okay, but I want you to start off on defense", because my brother was an offensive lineman, and he said "I don't want you to coach on the same side as your brother, right? So, I don't want you to go on at it, like go learn defense, and then when he graduates will always get you back to offense". Then as I just started going down this path, I just ended up having a passion for it. And it fit my personality, you know, be a little more aggressive and more fiery. It was just a really, really good fit. Now I can't even imagine, you know, coaching offense, I think they're a bunch of cheaters! You know, all the rules are meant for them. So, that's kind of how it all really started and when you get down this journey, it's been really, really exciting for me.
Travis Green: When it comes to coaching, not everybody's going to be a star on a team. Obviously, you came from a background of playing small college football. How much does that help you talk to any guys on your roster?
Jake Dickert: Any type of complaints.. I'm like, "Guys, I sold raffle tickets to get into fall camp!" Right? We had to sell raffle tickets to get the shorts and T-shirt just to play. It's given me an appreciation for everything that we have and just having the ability to coach at every level, I think is really unique and it's a unique experience.