In My Own Words with Dirk Koetter to Air Saturday Night

July 24, 2006

TEMPE, Ariz. - The FSN Arizona show, In My Own Words, will air this Saturday night (July 29) at 7:30 p.m. and will feature Arizona State University football head coach Dirk Koetter. The show, the fifth in the growing series, will look talk to Koetter about his days growing up as the son of a football coach to his current role as the leader of the Sun Devil program.

Back when he was a 23-year-old head football coach for his high school alma mater in Pocatello, Idaho, Dirk Koetter thought he had reached the pinnacle of his career. Taking over the reigns of a program his father built into a powerhouse and leading it to another state championship, life couldn't get any better for the Pocatello native. That was, however, until over a year later when he found himself striving for something more.

The son of a football coach, he always wanted to be like his dad, but did he also want to coach in the high school ranks for another 20 years? After realizing that wasn't for him, he set his career path on a different direction - one that would involve six collegiate coaching stops in 15 years across the country before landing what he called 'the job of my dreams' in 2001 when he became the head coach of the Arizona State football program.

Now, FSN Arizona details Koetter's journey from small-town Idaho to big-time collegiate football when the network debuts In My Own Words - Dirk Koetter on Saturday, July 29, at 7:30 p.m. The Saturday premiere is a portion of FSN Arizona's 'Saturday Night Football Tailgate Party,' which is an evening packed with three straight hours of football programming devoted to local football teams.

This latest In My Own Words is the fifth edition of the series FSN Arizona has produced and follows other successful episodes about Brandon Webb, Luis Gonzalez, Mike Stoops and Eric Byrnes. For this show, FSN Arizona's Kevin McCabe sits down with Koetter to talk about a wide-ranging list of subjects for the revealing 30-minute documentary.

In the show, Koetter looks back at his coaching career which includes stops at places like San Francisco State, UTEP and Oregon, discusses coaching in the shadow of Frank Kush, explains why he took the ASU job after originally accepting an offer from Oklahoma State and also gives his take on his relationship with the media and the perception that some consider him distant and cocky.

Viewers will also be shown many childhood and family photos provided to FSN Arizona by Koetter's parents, 16 millimeter film from his high school playing days at Highland High School and footage from his days as head coach at Boise State University.

Here are some of excerpts from In My Own Words - Dirk Koetter:

Regarding coaching at ASU in the shadow of Frank Kush: 'Frank Kush is an icon. A living legend -- and deservedly so. There is not a day that goes by that I don't hear about it. I give a lot of credit to coach Kush because I do various functions with him and coach Kush is in a tough spot because he is a living legend and really, you could make a case that he should probably still be the coach at Arizona State today. He is fit enough, he is cantankerous enough, he's still got it all - he's still got the things that made him successful. I have the utmost respect for coach Kush, I think we got to put into perspective that that was a different time and a different era. But I do really believe that coach Kush could still do a great job today.'

On being perceived as cocky and distant: 'It's like when you tell your kids they are dumb everyday - they are going to think they are dumb. If people tell me I am cocky, arrogant and distant everyday, then I think you look in the mirror and you ask yourself 'Is that really who I am?' I mean, I have been hearing that since I was in grade school, heard it in junior high, heard it in high school, heard in college, heard it as an assistant coach, heard it as a head coach. Your personality is what your personality is. I'm a lot shyer person than people think. I am not the type of person that's going to go up and start a conversation. Not because I am cocky, because I am more shy. I am not a good rub elbows with the media - that's not, that's just not, I don't enjoy that. I think if you go back though, and people who know me and I know them, then I think not many of those people say that.'

Does he embrace the UA rivalry? 'You have no choice but to embrace it. That's just a fact of life. I want to beat Arizona worse than anybody else out there. I get a kick out of it when people write me or see me at a function and tell me how bad they want to beat Arizona as if I don't want to beat Arizona. I want to beat Arizona as bad as the next person, but I have no inbred hatred for Mike Stoops or for anything that is the UA.'

About the fact that he has no secrets, he is up front, to the point and that honesty and integrity are the most important things to him: 'That's all really anyone has to hang their hat on. Unfortunately, I get criticized for that a lot. When I ask someone a question, I want them to give me an answer - I hate it when someone talks for 20 minutes and says nothing. It's hard for me to spin stuff. I am not a good spin doctor. I mean that is just who I am. I think the best advice I ever got about being a head coach is you got to be yourself and you got to do it your way. There are tons of successful coaches out there - I can't be those guys - I got to be who I am.'

On growing up with a hard-nosed father: 'My dad was pretty disciplined. It was pretty tough. That was in another time and my parents had Midwestern values and he was pretty strict on us. When you are going through that at as a kid at the time, you think that's the worst thing in the world. When you get a little bit older and you can appreciate that values that were instilled on you and how those carry over to your life - you are really thankful on the back-end. But when you are going through it, you are thinking it's hell on earth.'

On his options for coming out of high school to play collegiate football: 'At the last second, I didn't want to my parents to have to pay - I took a scholarship at Idaho State, which was my hometown school, to play football. If I have regrets about my athletic career, that was probably a mistake. I probably made a bad decision there - I made that decision based on money. My parents would have helped me go anywhere I wanted to, but when you have a full scholarship on the line, even if it's at a I-AA school, then I felt obligated to take that. Looking back, I think I could have done better athletically had I done something else, but from an educational standpoint, I got a great education at Idaho State.'

Growing up as the son of a football coach - what was that like: 'Every dad probably takes some work home and my dad's work was a 16 millimeter film projector chugging along on the kitchen table on Sunday nights. Sometimes I'd watch, sometimes I didn't. I think the thing I remember most was their games were on Friday nights and usually after the games, all the coaches and their wives came to our house and re-hashed the game about five million times. That's one thing I remember about my childhood -- I loved listening to those coaches talk about the game.'

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