From the time he was a young boy being coached in baseball by his grandfather, Rashaun Woods had thought about coaching.
Now, the former Millwood High and Oklahoma State football star is a head coach at the high school level.
Woods was formally introduced as John Marshall's new football coach on Tuesday at the school.
“I hope you guys are as excited as I am, because I'm pretty pumped,” Woods told his players during the introduction.
Woods, who had been coaching middle school football at Millwood, recently worked out his release with that school and will officially begin at John Marshall on March 25.
He'll also teach physical education at the school.
“He's bringing in a very unique opportunity for our students, specifically our football players,” John Marshall athletic director Edith Vickers said. “He'll be a wonderful example for them to follow.”
John Marshall went 0-10 last season. Since going 9-3 in 2009, the Bears are a combined 9-21 in three years.
“My main deal is to come out and really to change lives, to have an opportunity to put kids in a position to be able to go to school and to win football games.” Woods said. “John Marshall is a school that has a lot of tradition and pride, and I want to come here and continue that tradition.”
Before going back to Millwood to coach, Woods was an assistant at Star Spencer, where the Bobcats won the 2009 state title.
“Coming into Oklahoma City Public Schools, you hear a lot of different scenarios about the kids and about whether or not they can have success and what are the reasons why some Oklahoma City Public Schools don't have success,” Woods said. “I got to learn firsthand that the kids are willing and the kids can do the things that you need them to do, you just have to really believe in them and understand that some of their backgrounds aren't the best backgrounds.”
Woods said he would understand the issues that some of his players face without letting them make excuses.
“I'm going to demand everything that you can give,” Woods told the players. “In return, I'm going to give you something back. I'm going to help you go to college.”
Woods introduced two of his assistants as well. Former Eufaula and Wyoming standout Travis Burkhalter will coach the Bears' wide receivers.
“I'm trying to get as many guys who have D-I or pro experience as possible,” Woods told the players. “We're going to strap on the cleats. You might not always understand what we're saying, but we're sure going to show you.”
Woods also introduced Tiffani Bates. Bates, a John Marshall alum who works at the University of Oklahoma as a graduation counselor, will serve as the team's academic adviser.
“She is probably the most important coach that we'll have, because she will get to know each one of the kids personally,” Woods said. “They will have a plan.
“She's going to help us as coaches make sure that the kids are in position to where they're going to get the grades and when the ACT time comes up, we're going to get a bus and take them there.”
Bates and Woods are friends, and when Woods was picked for the job, it became a natural fit for Bates, who is volunteering for the spot.
“For me, it's not about the money,” Bates said. “It's something that I've wanted to volunteer to do to put these players in the best position.”
The Bears are expected to have a new home stadium to play in beginning next season.
“We're waiting on a couple of final quotes and business numbers but we're hoping to get it started soon,” Vickers said.