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'It’s a dream come true': WSU holds introductory press conference for new head football coach Jake Dickert

Dickert becomes the 34th head coach in WSU football history.

PULLMAN, Wash. — Normally when a head coach has an introductory press conference, that's the first time many people around a school are meeting that person. 

That was obviously not the case for Jake Dickert's introductory press conference on Thursday. 

After so many unknowns over the last few months for this WSU football program, the familiar felt right.

"For me, personally, it’s a dream come true," said Dickert. "Since I was a little kid, this is just something that I’ve always wanted. I love this game, and I’ve invested a lot of my life in this game."

Jake Dickert has never lived in one place more than three years during his coaching career and at one point moved his family eight times in nine years. 

He’s right that he’s invested a lot in the sport of football, and now he’s ready to plant roots down and invest in Wazzu.

"It’s a special moment. There were a lot of tears," said Dickert of his family's, especially his kid's, reaction of getting to stay in Pullman. "There was a lot of celebrating. There’s just a lot of happy faces. The last six weeks have been challenging but to have that moment and come home to these guys? It was so special."

The journey to get to this point though, as Dickert alluded too, was anything but easy. 

He was elevated to interim head coach from defensive coordinator following the firing of former head coach Nick Rolovich, who refused to get the COVID-19 vaccine as required by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee. WSU denied Rolovich's religious exemption to the state's vaccine mandate.

The announcement about Dickert taking over as permanent head coach came one day after the Cougars won their first Apple Cup since 2012,  beating the University of Washington 40-13. The win ended a seven-game losing streak in the rivalry for WSU and is the largest margin of victory in the history of the series.

Dickert says he didn’t necessarily envision getting the head coaching job in the beginning, but he came into the interim head coaching gig with a plan that he hoped would get his interim tag removed.

"There was very little sleep. There was a lot of coffee," said Dickert with a chuckle. "There was just a lot of those moments where I didn’t know if I could keep going, but I just knew that I had to give these guys everything I had."

Dickert’s first plan workout pretty well for his guys-- AKA his players-- and he has a plan for them and his program moving forward.

"Our vision for Washington State football will be simple: We’re going to be building champions while we're relentlessly competing for championships. We’re going to have champions here at Washington State, and they’re going to be champion people first and foremost. I’ll teach our guys to love themselves, to love each other, and to love the process daily of what we all go through and challenge ourselves. They will understand that because I love them, I will challenge them everyday to become the best versions of themselves as people and as players," said Dickert.

Dickert is still working everything out in terms of his plans for his staff, but FootballScoop.com reported Thursday night that Dickert will hire Nevada Defensive Coordinator Brian Ward for the same position at WSU. 

As for Dickert’s plans for the offense?

"I think the biggest philosophy I have on offense is players over plays. We’re going to center this around Jayden and his development and what he can do in the future. He’s just starting and he’s just blossoming into what he can become," said Dickert.

In year where the Cougars easily could’ve played dead, they did the opposite. 

They sowed the seeds of stability amidst chaos.

"I look at our football team and it’s really just one of those power of the human spirit types of things. Like, no matter what’s thrown at you, if you come together, figure out how to unify in purpose, and take steps forward even when they feel hard, you can accomplish some extraordinary things," said athletic director Pat Chun

Here is the full press conference:

Dickert has 14 seasons of college football coaching experience. His most recent stop before Pullman was at the University of Wyoming where he coached for three seasons and was the defensive coordinator in 2019. Dickert's run defense was ranked 11th in the country in Laramie. Prior to 2019, Dickert was the safeties coach at Wyoming in 2017 and 2018.


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