As part of my business consulting football coaches about their job search process, one of the number one questions I get is “How do I get a D1 job?”
Answer: Connections!! And, HARD WORK!!!
You’ve got to have some sort of a connection to land a major college football job, there is no other way around it. You’ve got to be connected to the head coach, or to an assistant coach on the staff. VERY, VERY rare are the guys who are hired to a D1 spot without ANY connection to a coach already on that staff. In fact, I’d love to hear from you if this happened to you, or you know someone who won that lottery!
Here is the story of current Pasadena City College Wide Receivers Coach “Boomer” Roepke. It’s one of those great stories that you rarely hear about: recruiting assistant becomes coach at major Pac 12 school. Buckle in!
Coach Boomer’s first hand account.
While working in the football recruiting office at USC, coach Clay Helton was the offensive coordinator for Coach Sarkisian (2014/2015 Seasons). I had approached Coach Helton about any opportunities that might allow me the opportunity to learn coaching strategies on the field and in the meeting room. Coach Helton was intrigued by my interest in volunteering but said there weren’t any current opportunities but to keep checking in.
That’s exactly what I did.
Throughout the next six months I would ask him respectfully if there were any positions available. After much persistence and the ability to show my value within the recruiting office, he had agreed to find something for me to do to help the team.
However, he wasn’t going to give any free handouts.
He mentioned I could be of extra assistance with hand signaling to the offense for play calling. He then stated, if I wanted the opportunity to help with signaling play calls, I will need to learn the whole call sheet. A call sheet that has hundreds of plays on it. He had asked for me to learn the signals for wide receivers and quarterbacks and once I felt confident in my ability to execute these hand signals, to come back and see him.
Ecstatic for the opportunity to be tested and to assist the coaches at my alma mater, I started studying. Various coaches within the staff gave me the time to educate me on each play and the signals that went a long with it.
However, I didn’t just ask for wide receiver and quarterback signals, I asked for every position on the offense- O linemen, tight ends, and running backs and motions well……talk about a lot of hand signals.
But I knew this would be the only way to go above and beyond to show Coach how serious I was and how much this team meant to me. This was quite the process because of the busy schedule for these coaches. Having to go to the football offices between every class and on my breaks from my full time job on campus as a restaurant manager, but I had to make it happen.
I was finally able to film all the hand signals and go to work.
A couple days later, my MBA class and I went on a business trip to Japan. It was a week of visiting different businesses in various parts of Japan, learning about their Management techniques and manufacturing processes. Having an accumulative 40 hours of travel, it was a perfect opportunity for me to study the plays. Having my call sheet in my lap and replaying the hand signals from my phone phone, I was able to learn these plays with great repetition.
It was quite comical while traveling though, my classmates would look over at me and throughout most of the flight, it was as if I was doing sign language to myself. I had incredible support from my classmates and they were excited to see the outcome.
Once returning back to Los Angeles, I was excited to show Coach Helton my knowledge of the plays. I walked in to his office and executed through preparation. He would scan the call sheet and pick random plays to have me recite with hand signals.
After the first couple signals, I told Coach, “Coach, please give me the whole play, I know every position.”
He looked to me and smiled, “Okay, Boomer, let’s see what you’ve got.”
He went through almost the whole call sheet, asking for motion signals and everything. He would call in other coaches to quiz me on calls that maybe weren’t on the call sheet but because I had asked almost every offensive coach for help to memorize the plays, I knew them all!
Coach was really excited that I had executed the whole script and from then on, I was able to pursue this coaching internship. Coach Helton brought me under his wing and gave me confidence and insight of how to create a successful organization as well as the knowledge of X’s and O’s in the staff room.
After volunteering at USC for the 2015 season, I was recruited by Tom Maher of Pasadena City College to become the wide receivers coach and assist with special teams and recruiting.
What a tremendous story of making the absolute most out of every opportunity! Thank you for sharing Coach Roepke!