Gesser gets going


POSTED: Sunday, May 03, 2009

Jason Gesser never left the field on the losing end of a high school football game he started at Saint Louis School. He promises to do everything he can as a high school coach to help his players enjoy a similar experience.





        The former Saint Louis quarterback was hired as the head football coach at Eastside Catholic School in Seattle The coaches he has worked for:

» 1996-97: Cal Lee, Saint Louis School


» 1999-2002: Mike Price, Washington State


» 2003: Jeff Fisher, Tennessee Titans


» 2005: Tom Higgins, Calgary Stampeders


» 2006: Danny White, Utah Blaze




Gesser, who posted a 24-0 record as a two-time all-state quarterback on the 1996-97 Prep Bowl champions of Saint Louis, has been named head coach of Eastside Catholic School in suburban Seattle.

“;I really want to build a dynasty there and do something no other school in Washington has done,”; Gesser said Friday.

It's the first head coaching job for Gesser, who has been an assistant the past three years at two high schools near Seattle. Eastside Catholic loses 31 seniors off a state playoff team that finished 10-2, but the ever-enthusiastic Gesser refuses to concede anything.

“;We are the returning Metro League champions, and we've got to start acting like it,”; Gesser said. “;Even though we lost a lot of guys, these young guys have to realize they are the defending champions of the Metro League. Expectations will be high.”;

Gesser, 29, said the head coaching responsibilities will force him to retire as a player. The former Washington State star signed a two-year contract with New York in the Arena Football League after spending the past three years with Utah, but the AFL suspended operations for one year for financial reasons.

“;To tell you the truth, I'm so excited to be done playing,”; Gesser said. “;It's been really tough these past three years because my kids are growing up.

“;I have two young kids (with wife, Kali, a former WSU volleyball player). “;My son just turned 2 yesterday. My daughter is about to turn 6.

“;I was away six months a year. It's just horrible to be away from my kids that long, but that was my main income.”;

Gesser, who is not a teacher, will continue to operate football and training sessions and camps in the Seattle area. On June 21, Gesser is bringing in college coaches from throughout the Pacific Northwest, plus Hawaii assistant Craig Stutzmann and possibly Hawaii offensive coordinator Ron Lee (Gesser's offensive coordinator at Saint Louis), to instruct at a one-day camp for high school players.

Gesser, a three-year starter and co-captain at Washington State, remains one of the most popular players in Cougars history. He has often said he aspires to be a head coach at WSU, but Gesser said he plans to spend “;10-plus years”; at Eastside Catholic.

“;It's the right step and a great step and a great opportunity,”; Gesser said.

Gesser played professionally in the National, Canadian and Arena football leagues, although he never saw action in a regular-season game during his stint with the NFL's Tennessee Titans in 2003-04. He shared Offensive Player of the Year honors in the Pacific-10 Conference with current Cincinnati Bengals star Carson Palmer after Gesser led Washington State to the 2003 Rose Bowl.

The former Honolulu resident said he “;developed a passion”; for coaching at Washington State. Ever since then, he has compiled notebooks to remind him of coaching decisions and strategy that he liked and didn't like from men like Mike Price at Washington State, Jeff Fisher with the Titans, well-respected offensive coordinator Bill Diedrick with Calgary in the CFL and Danny White in the AFL.

Gesser said he also “;learned a lot”; as a high school assistant coach the past three years but, he added, “;I learned even more from playing and being under other coaches.

“;I never had anything given to me. I've always had to work hard. I've never been the biggest kid or the fastest kid,”; he said.

“;That's my main goal—to stress to these kids to work hard. Nothing is ever given to you. You have to work for everything you earn.”;