Jake Dickert built the WSU defensive defense on a succinct mission statement

WSU Defensive Coordinator Jake Dickert (Photo: Cougfan.com/Whittney Thornton)

PULLMAN – For the Washington State Defensive Coordinator Jake dickert, whose rising troops have played an inspired balloon over the past two weeks, a simple mantra guides his work and shapes his unit’s identity.

“Our defense mission statement,” he said in a neutral tone, “is to have a real appreciation for the effort and commitment that everyone makes.”

Good game plans and techniques are useless without attitudes fueled by commitment and passion for everyday life.

“And what I’m trying to convey to our young players is that who you are and how you do it, and your daily interaction with people, is so important,” Dickert told Cougfan.com on the week last. “I want the guys to understand that everyone in our program is there to benefit them.”

Dickert is fiery, upbeat and focused, and his Cougar D seems to play in that same mold. Over the past two weeks, they’ve forced nine fumbles (recovering four), hit one assist, recorded 12 tackles for a loss and kept their opponents 6 of 23 (26%) on third-down conversions. The Cougars 11 takeaways in total over the season is Wazzu’s most in the first five games of a season since 2017.

IT WAS GROWN IN WISCONSIN, IN THE small company town of Kohler, north of Milwaukee, and played college ball two hours west at Wisconsin Stevens-Point. As a junior and senior, he was named the school’s Catcher of the Year.

His original plan was to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a high school teacher and coach. Dad, however, is the reason Dickert is coaching in Washington state today.

“My family has always been a high school coach,” Dickert said. “And my dad trained us growing up and my plan all the time was to get a teaching degree and be a teacher and coach like everyone else. And in fact, I got a job after graduating from college and my dad said, ‘Why don’t you try to train in college? This is my biggest regret that I have ever had. Because once you start finding a job and knowing what money is, you’ll never look back. So give it a try.

Dickert therefore approached his head coach at UW-Stevens Point, John Miech, and asked him to stay on as a graduate assistant.

“He said, ‘Okay, but we’ll move you to defense,” Dickert said. “Because my brother, Jesse, was an offensive lineman (over there) and he didn’t want me to work. attacking with my brother, that’s how my defensive journey started.

Although not a titular teacher, Dickert considers himself that way.

“Coaching is teaching,” Dickert said. “And a lot of people forget about it. I teach a class and its football. And I take notes for them, I make them diagrams. We walk, we teach. And you have to understand how to behave with people. And everyone is different.

“I have 12 linebackers in my room, and everyone learns differently and everyone’s personality is different. It is a unique matrix of things that you must put together in order to relate to all of them.

Asked to cite the biggest influences in his approach to coaching, Dickert does not hesitate.

“The first is my varsity coach, John Miech,” Dickert said. “He was at UW Stevens-Point for 25 years. As a Division III coach, you start with nothing. He was his own recruiting coordinator, offensive coordinator, equipment guy, he did it all. So I learned from him the hard work and dedication. These roots will never leave me.

“Defensively I’m probably the most shaped by Michigan State Defensive Coordinator Scottie Hazelton. He is the brightest football spirit I have ever encountered. And he was one of my mentors and a guy that I tried to shape my preparation and thoughts with after being AG for him in the state of North Dakota.

“And the third guy is Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl. He’s my biggest mentor in this profession and he always told me I reminded him of himself. And he showed me that every detail matters.

DIVISION III DICKERT ROAD Stevens Point to the Power 5 is the quintessential “pay your dues” story. After a year as a graduate assistant at Stevens Point, he was promoted to safety coach and then joined FCS North Dakota State under Bohl’s leadership. From there it was South Dakota, Southeast Missouri State, Augustana (his first turn as defensive coordinator), Minnesota-Mankato State, South Dakota State, and then the Wyoming, first as a safety coach and then defensive coordinator, before Nick Rolovich asked him to join the fray at WSU.

“Every time you get that call, there’s a lot of excitement,” Dickert said. “In this profession, everyone has goals and aspirations. And not everyone has this opportunity. And I will never forget that moment. Coach Rolovich gave me an opportunity and trusted me which is so special. And getting this opportunity is one that I don’t take lightly, and I told him that I will never cheat on him someday.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Dickert was appointed Wisconsin-Stevens Point’s Wide Receiver of the Year in 2005 and 2006. He received his BA in Secondary Mathematics at Stevens Point in 2007 and completed his Masters in Education there in 2009. He and his wife, Candice, have three children: daughter Rylee and sons Jett and Jace.

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