BY JOHN LUND
Wyoming County Press Examiner
Fourteen years ago, the professional football ranks were so far from John Glenn’s consciousness, that he now chuckles at the twists and turns that got him there.
Once a standout quarterback and linebacker for Lackawanna Trail, Glenn reflected last week on the path that got him to the Seahawks.
“It was by far one of the greatest experiences of my life to play for a great coach like Jeff Wasilchak and with the guys I played with,” Glenn said. “The Trail community rallied around us while we were there and it was a neat environment. No matter what sport you play, to have a group of guys come together and accomplish your goals will be something I’ll always remember.”
After graduating from high school in 2000, Glenn enrolled at East Stroudsburg where he played basketball for two years.
“It was really eye opening for me,” Glenn said. “I never was outside the realm of this area and the competition was so great. It really helped me to evaluate where I was and where I needed to go. I always knew I wanted to win but I didn’t know how to harness my inner competitive drive. Failure allowed me to find my drive and do the little things to become better. Hard things pay off and good things happen to go people.”
After two years of basketball, Glenn took to football for three years and played under Denny Douds, who holds the Division II record for most games coached.
The man played an influential part in Glenn’s life.
“He taught me how to handle myself and take care of yourself in the classroom and was the biggest influence on me,” Glenn said. “He preached that you can do whatever you want on the field but you need to stay straightened up in school. He always had a life lesson and did so many of the little things as a coach that still helps me today.”
The offensive and defensive coordinators also contributed in helping Glenn consider football after college.
“Those guys made you feel like you were part of a family,” Glenn said. “They helped mold me and I knew I wanted the opportunity to do that. Football was a great platform to turn young boys into men and that’s what I wanted to do.
After graduating with a communication studies degree with an emphasis in speech communication, Glenn became a volunteer on the ESU coaching staff in 2005.
“It was a trying time to try and separate myself going from a player to a coach,” Glenn said. “You have to have a different relationship with the guys you hung out with and they look to you as a figure to listen to. It was great to have that transitional stage early on though.”
In 2006, Glenn was offered a position as a linebackers coach and graduate assistant at North Carolina Wesleyan College in Rocky Mount, N.C. for a football program that had only been established the year before.
“I was offered $8,500 and a dorm room and still can remember thinking I was the richest guy on the planet when I got my paycheck,” Glenn joked. “I didn’t know what I was going to say at my first meeting but the guys were so eager to learn. The program had no real tradition or backbone so I was able to bring what I learned from a program with such a rich history and the guys did a tremendous job of listening. I was 25 years old coaching my own position, it was all you could ask for as a college coach.”
His team won the conference championship in 2007, and Glenn was ready for more. Glenn moved to Los Angeles for a chance to work for ESPN, but he was forced to work at a bar for minimum wage when the opportunity fell through.
Glenn sought the help of his close friend and former high school teammate Yogi Roth, who was a graduate assistant coach at the University of Southern California.
Glenn had worked at some of the football camps held at USC and had developed a relationship with Steve Sarkisian, who had served as offensive coordinator for the Trojans.
Sarkisian was named head coach of the University of Washington in 2009, and gave Glenn a job as a member of his coaching staff in 2010.
“I was really fortunate he gave me a shot,” Glenn said. “I was basically hired on a trial basis and got flown out there and told if we like you we’ll keep you. I tried to work as hard as I could to show them I was worthy of the challenge.”
He was named offensive quality control coach and asked to assist with the wide receivers. Some of his responsibilities included drawing up pass routes and making call sheets to help the other coaches.
Glenn arrived at just the right time, as Sarkisian was quickly turning the Huskies fortunes around.
Washington went on to win the 2010 Holiday Bowl over Nebraska, but would lose in the Alamo Bowl in 2011 to Baylor, which was led by Robert Griffin III, the current quarterback of the Washington Redskins.
“It was very emotional and overwhelming when we beat Nebraska,” Glenn said. We had lost to them earlier in the year so it was great to get a win over a great team in a great city in a bowl game. It was a neat time to be a part of that program.”
But when offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier, who Glenn was close with, left Washington for the University of Alabama in February of 2012, Glenn considered leaving as well.
Glenn needed advice, and went to Pete Carroll for help.
Glenn had met Carroll at a football camp at USC while Carroll was the head coach.
“I called to ask how I could keep climbing in the profession and he gave me great advice,” Glenn said.
But what Glenn didn’t know is that Carroll, now head coach of the Seahawks, would call back four days later, this time offering Glenn a job.
“He knew I was a young guy looking for an opportunity and I don’t know if it was just good timing but I’m thankful that he answered that phone call,” Glenn said.