Fountaine Looking To Make His Mark
Nov. 2, 2006
By Justin Chartrey
The hope for any collegiateplayer is that he leaves a goodlegacy, whether that be winning anational championship or leavinga mark in the record books. ForMatt Fountaine, that meant tryingto turn around a program that hasnot been to a bowl game in thepast four years.
Coming out of high school atBishop O'Dowd in Oakland,Calif., Washington was aperfect fit for Fountaine. Hisbrother Jamal Fountaine was amember of the 1991 nationalchampionship team at the UW,so he already had a connectionwith the school and the footballprogram.
'Washington was the onlyschool I ever thought of,' hesaid. 'I got other offers but thisis where I wanted to go.'
Having seen his older brotherplay at the UW and have greatsuccess as a Husky, Fountainehad similar aspirations whenhe signed. Instead, he has beenright in the middle of one ofthis program's most turbulentstretches.
In his high school days,Fountaine played all aspects of thegame as a running back on offenseand as a corner on defense. Inhis senior season, he rushed for1,885 yards and 26 touchdowns,and on defense he racked up eightinterceptions. His skill caught theeye of several publications, placinghim among the top recruits in thestate of California. That attentionalso caught the eye of severalprograms around the nation.
'My junior year I startedrunning the ball well,' he said.'I started getting letters fromschools and I realized that I couldplay [Division I].'
He never had the opportunityto play for Rick Neuheisal -- thecoach who recruited him -- but forthe past four years he has workedat being the best player he couldbe.
Fountaine credits hiscurrent coaching staff with thatdevelopment as a defensive playerafter being primarily a runningback in high school.
Since his redshirt freshmanseason in 2003, Fountaine hasbeen on the field in almost everygame. In 2003, he saw action in 10of the 11 games, and the followingyear played in every game.
To his coaches, he is a reliableveteran in the secondary.
In Washington's first sevengames -- when Dashon Goldson wasrecovering from an ankle injury --Fountaine fi lled in nicely, recording44 tackles, including a season-highnine against both Oklahoma andUSC. Those totals easily eclipsed hisprevious season-high of 39.
He also brings the kind ofveteran leadership and experiencethat is necessary for any team inthe rebuilding phase. He is a manwho wants to make leadership aneveryday part of his life.
In the future, Fountainesaid that he wants to becomethe mayor of Oakland, hishometown. Having graduatedwith a degree in politicalscience, he would love to make adifference in the political worldas soon as he can.
'I'm really interested in thepolitical developments that goon in a lot of the urban diverseareas,' he said. 'I want toknow how aspects of life affectdecisions that are made, and Iwant to be a part of that whenI get older.'
On this team, he is gettingplenty of opportunity to lead asone of the seniors.
'He's a great teammate,'said teammate Roy Lewis. 'He's anolder guy and has been around fora while. He's a great player to playwith.'
For Fountaine, perhaps thatwill be his legacy: The constantleader and a guy who gave his allevery time he was on the field.