By Alexa Low
“Pursue Excellence with A Vengeance” and “Faith, Family, Football” are Gary Bass’ team mottos for this season. Entering year two as head football coach at Quincy University, Bass has learned a few things and been able to finally make the team his own.
The previous head coach left in the middle of May 2017 giving Bass hardly any time for recruiting and spring ball. This left them having to keep most everything offensively and defensively the same. Especially with the senior class totaling 17 they didn’t want to throw a lot of new plays at them.
“This year we finally have the ability to finally make the changes that we want to make which is a huge offensive and defensive advantage for us and it also allows us to go out and get a recruiting class that’s going to fit more what we are trying to do offensively and defensively,” Bass said.
Bass started off this season with new and old faces by his side. Mitch Leppke was the graduate assistant and defensive backs coach in 2014 until his departure to Minnesota State University Moorhead in 2016. Leppke returned to QU this season as the special teams coordinator and defensive backs coach.
Along with Leppke, Cal Benson was hired on as the wide receivers coach and the new graduate assistant, David Gunter serves as the fullbacks/ tight ends coach. Student assistants Javon Washington and Jacob Abell came on this season as the first student assistants for the QU Hawks.
“Every time a new coach takes over, there’s going to be different philosophies, a different culture,” Bass said.
Bass states that having Coach Hubbard and Coach Kelly back on the sideline, who are the Offensive and Defensive Coordinators for this year, is a big plus.
Bass firmly believes that to achieve a good team and program faith, family and football is at the core.
Each player on the football team was given a dog tag necklace with two
important acronyms engraved on them – Pursue Excellence With A Vengeance (PEWAV) and Faith, Family, Football (FFF). They represent a culture that Bass is trying to create among his players.
Faith in the team and fellow teammates. Faith that the football team will succeed and the players will have each other’s backs no matter what.
The football team is one big family, 140 brothers and all. Bass finds family especially important for those players who may not have a family or brothers back home. He wants them to be able to step on campus and immediately feel welcomed into the family atmosphere created.
Besides his football family, Bass has a family of his own. His daughter, Lyla attends every football game she can and even some practices. She is a little sister to the players and she loves being around the team. Bass values this because he feels it makes her more social and lets his players see him as a family man.
“I want our guys not just to see me as a football coach but also as a husband and a father because I think that’s important for their growth in other areas. If you’re going to talk about family, you have to be around it and show it,” Bass said.
He is an active supporter of all other sports on campus and often attends campus events. He wants to be known on campus as the football coach but also someone who is there to see the entire campus thrive.
“For me, it’s important to be involved with all the other sports, to come to different things from the academic side and to make it where you can help anybody and everybody. Coaches get so caught up in the football aspect of things, they forget about why we got into coaching and why they got into this to begin with,” Bass said.
Gary Bass’s players and coaches are certainly “All In” for this season.