If you ask people who have been following Utah State football long enough, they might remember a different version of the man you see on tv these days. When I was half my age, I wasn't walking out of the Maverick Stadium tunnel as the Aggies head coach.
I was sprinting out of there as the USU quarterback.
My early years in Logan were some of the most formative of my life, and one event in particular paved the way for me to become the Christian and coach I am today.
In some ways, you already know how the story ends, because life is pretty good for me right now. I've got a beautiful wife, three awesome kids, and a great job coaching at Utah State. But how I got to this point was quite the spiritual and professional journey.
I could say the story started when I got to Logan, Utah to be the Aggies quarterback, but in reality the story has to begin in Oklahoma, in a small town called Sallisaw. It was there that my parents raised me in a Christ-centered home, which laid the foundation for the way I wanted to live my life. It also proved crucial as I was about to navigate through some treacherous waters in my life when I got to college.
When I got to Utah State in 1992, the coaching staff decided to redshirt me. Everyone has hopes of starting day one as a freshman, but the redshirt can be seen as a positive thing for players. I got to keep my four years of eligibility, and in the meantime I could study for a year under my head coach, Charlie Weatherbie.
My redshirt freshman year saw me only throw one pass, but it was a great time to be on the football team. Not only was I the heir to the starting quarterback position for the next season, during that 1993 year we had one of the greatest seasons in Utah State history. We went to our first bowl game since 1961 and won the first bowl game in the program's history.
To put in perspective how big of a deal this was around campus, the last time we were in a bowl game the Beatles hadn't even made their first record yet. And the following season, with me as the starting quarterback, the headlines and statistics would all have my name next to it.
I was going to be the star quarterback on the biggest show in town.
It was at that time God decided to teach me some major lessons in humility, grace, and selflessness.