Friday, March 29, 2013
Paopao transitions to full-time assistant
By Mason Kelley
SEATTLE -- After graduating from San Diego, Jordan Paopao knew he wanted to find a way to keep himself connected to football.
“There wasn’t a whole lot of need for sub-6-foot offensive linemen in the NFL or any sort of professional league,” Washington’s tight ends coach said. “Staying around the sport was something that was vitally important to me.”
Recruiting and coaching up players such as Austin Seferian-Jenkins will be among Jordan Paopao's responsibilities.
So, while he put his playing career in the past, he started to explore graduate assistant coaching opportunities.
He knew Jimmie Dougherty, who coached at San Diego before joining the Washington’s staff as the receivers coach. Dougherty told Paopao that Steve Sarkisian trusts young assistants. The Huskies coach allows his staff members to take charge of the position they work with.
Dougherty helped convince Paopao to take a graduate assistant position with the Huskies. And, after two seasons, Paopao earned a full-time position on Washington’s staff in January.
Because of his experience as a graduate assistant, Paopao was able to step right in when Dougherty left the program to become the offensive coordinator at San Jose State.
“The transition has really been outstanding,” Paopao said. “The cool thing about Coach Sark is, even as a GA, he really gave me a lot of creative control over the tight ends room in terms of it being my position group to coach, install, meet and film review really the way that any full-time staff member would have.”
In addition to working with the Huskies’ tight ends, Paopao has taken an active role in the program’s recruiting effort.
“The cool thing about what I’ve stepped into as a recruiter is being a young guy and able to relate to a lot of the things they’re going on to,” he said. “It’s really been outstanding to learn from guys like Tosh (Lupoi) and Marques (Tuiasosopo) and Keith (Heyward), really everyone on the staff because of the energy, the enthusiasm and effort put into recruiting.”
Like Washington’s other talented recruiters, Paopao takes pride in his ability to relate to recruits.
“It’s really about building relationships,” Paopao said. “It’s all about relationships. I hate to be cliché about it, but it’s really the honest to goodness truth. If there's anything I’ve seen from this whole staff, including coach Sark, it’s just effort, really just continuous effort.”
His goal as a recruiter is to show a recruit’s family and high school coaches the Huskies have their best interests in mind. He wants to be an extension of Sarkisian and the family culture that has become one of his trademarks at Washington.
“You can see that radiating from him down to all of us as assistant coaches,” Paopao said. “We’ve bought in. We have whole-hearted faith in everything he does and every decision he makes and I think recruits get that sense.”
The son of a football coach, Paopao is pursuing a passion he picked up early on. And, as far as he is concerned, he picked the perfect place grow as both a coach and recruiter.
“It’s really just priceless experience that you can’t get anywhere else,” Paopao said.