Interview: Coach Jason Semore
Coach Jason Semore is a defensive graduate assistant at Oklahoma State University. He is a well known and respected defensive mind with experience on the high school, Division II, and FBS level. Follow @CoachSemoreOSU on Twitter.
Coach, we know you have been a lot of places in a variety of different roles. Tell us a little bit of your background and how you ended up at Oklahoma State.
I started as a high defensive coordinator in Arizona working for my father, who was a long time head coach in the state (now retired), at Round Valley High School. I got lucky and made the move to college when my former coach at Adams State University (Marty Heaton) got the defensive coordinator job at Colorado School of Mines. Coach Heaton called and asked me to coach the defensive backs and I was hired by Coach Bob Stitt.
After one season Coach Heaton got the head coach job back at Adams State and thought highly enough of me to take me with him to my alma mater. After a few years I worked my way up to co-defensive coordinator/special teams coordinator.
This business is all about relationships and while I was coaching at Mines I worked with another young coach and Tulsa alum, Clint Rountree; the current director of high school relations at the University of Tulsa. We became good friends over the years and he ended up going back to Tulsa in 2010 and stood on the table on my behalf to get me a graduate assistant job for Coach Todd Graham. My wife and I decided to sacrifice money in the short term to make the move to Division 1. I was at Tulsa for a couple years and worked with some awesome coaches, including Van Malone, who ended up taking the secondary job here at OSU. Coach Malone called me soon after taking the job at OSU and asked me if I wanted to follow him… and the rest is history.
What is it like working for Coach Gundy?
Working for Coach Gundy is great. I have a lot of freedom to coach and a lot of responsibility as a graduate assistant. Coach Gundy allows you to develop as a coach and play a big role in the program, which is not always the case when you are a GA. I have learned a lot in terms of how he motivates players and the importance of emphasizing the priorities of the program. Our players know what's important and what is expected… and they believe in those things.
Who have been the biggest influences in your career?
Without a doubt, my father has been my biggest influence on my career. Then I would have to say the players that I coached at the Division II level. As a young coach I was able to learn what is important and what is not important in terms of recruiting, teaching and overall relationships. Lastly, I would have to say all the great coaches that I have worked with over the years. You don't get to this level of coaching without being special and I have worked with some incredible guys over the years.
What is your coaching philosophy?
I think that's a question coaches don't think enough about these days. There are a lot of company lines out there concerning coaching philosophy… some catchy buzz words, but to me it is a very personal question. The short answer is you ultimately want your guys to: 1. be the best person they can be 2. be the best player they can be 3. have an identity as a man (outside of football).
I think the most successful coaches develop their guys by teaching success as a lifestyle. We know we can never achieve perfection in life and football, but if we embrace the process of preparation and hard work (the grind, if you will), most of the time you will be successful. Success isn't promised, adversity is inevitable, but if you can learn to enjoy the grind success will find you eventually. If it doesn't, at the very least your passion will be revealed and your god given talents and opportunities will be used to the fullest. Any man can live with that!
If you weren't a coach, what would you be doing?
I'm not really sure. Probably something where brotherhood and teamwork is important.
What is your ultimate goal?
To coach football at the highest level and to keep my wife happy while raising my daughters to also be happy, healthy and successful.
Everyone calls you "J Boogie". How did you get that name?
Keith Patterson, the current defensive coordinator at West Virginia, gave me that nickname while at Tulsa in honor of Jason Jones, who is now the co-defensive coordinator at Ole Miss. Coach Jones nickname at Tulsa was J Boogie and when he left for Oklahoma State I inherited the name from coach Patterson. It has stuck ever since.
What is the best website in the world for coaches?
Without a doubt, AthleticOffice.com! I keep everything in my online office and I love it. If you are a coach and not taking advantage of these features, you are quite simply an amateur!
Thanks, coach. Good luck this season!
Thanks guys. Go Cowboys!