SAN FRANCISCO – The daily inspirational quotes have taken on even greater meaning for Danny Razore and the Huskies this month.
Razore, a 24-year-old graduate assistant coach, posts a quote each morning on a whiteboard at Washington’s football offices. On Thursday, a day before UW’s matchup against BYU in the Fight Hunger Bowl, the quote he posted at the team hotel was from Albert Einstein: “Setting an example is not the main means of influencing others; it is the only means!”
Razore drew a smiley face below the quote — two black dots above a small “u” — and then posted a picture of the quote on Twitter and Instagram.
During a trying month of coaching change and controversy, Razore has tried to keep the Huskies in a positive mindset.
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“We’ve put a little more emphasis on that this month,” said Razore, a 2008 Bellevue High graduate. “I’ve just always been into motivational speaking and enjoy finding out about people who are doing great things. I want to spread positivity to as many people as possible, and social networking is a great way to do that.”
The quotes have become part of the daily ritual for UW’s defensive backs, who have come to embrace “Coach Passion,” the nickname bestowed on Razore by UW strength coach Ivan Lewis.
“Every day we read it to each other and he tells us what it means and he asks what we get out of it,” sophomore cornerback Marcus Peters said. “He knows how to connect to us. We can go talk to him about anything.”
When Steve Sarkisian left UW for USC earlier this month, he took three assistant coaches with him, including defensive backs coach Keith Heyward. That left Razore thrust into much more significant role in leading the secondary.
“It’s really been the experience of a lifetime,” Razore said.
Fellow graduate assistant Brandon Huppert, an Edmonds native and former walk-on linebacker for UW, has taken on a similar role with the linebackers.
“They’re both high-energy, they’re young, they’re ambitious and they want to learn … and they’ve done a nice job,” UW interim coach Marques Tuiasosopo said.
Razore was a defensive back on two Bellevue state-championship teams and, after a career-ending groin injury forced him to give up his playing career at the University of San Diego in 2009, he served as a Bellevue assistant coach on three more state-title teams.
It was Bellevue coach Butch Goncharoff who, after Razore’s injury in San Diego, convinced Razore to move home and enroll at UW. “I’ll teach you how to coach,” Goncharoff told him.
With Chris Petersen set to officially take over at UW after the bowl game, Razore said he’s not stressed about what might happen or where he’ll end up.
“First off, I’m just humbled to have this opportunity,” Razore said. “I have so much respect for where I’m at that I’m just trying to be the best leader I can be.”
Washington and BYU will share a sideline at AT&T Park, part of the odd configuration necessary for a game played in a Major League Baseball stadium.
“The other unique challenge in this game — and the officials will have to decide how to handle this — is with the substitutions,” BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall said. “My guess is they’ll probably try to slow it down a little bit, especially if one team is farther down the field than the other.”
• Washington has distributed more than 4,000 tickets for the Fight Hunger Bowl.
• Former Washington coach Tyrone Willingham, a member of the Fight Hunger Bowl board of directors, attended a luncheon honoring both teams Thursday.
• The Fight Hunger Bowl will mark the first time that two female officials have worked the same FBS game together. The crew from Conference USA includes Sarah Thomas as line judge and Maia Chaka as head lineswoman, according to The Associated Press. A Division II game earlier this year between Miles College and Lane had four female officials. That was billed as the first NCAA game with a majority-female officiating crew.