Ask Brett Jay what it takes to build a successful high school football program and the answer is immediate.
“The No. 1 thing that has to happen, and it has to happen early, is that you have to have buy-in from everybody involved in the program,” said Jay, the new head football coach at Monroe High School. “Because once you have buy-in, then it’s just time to get to work.
“And we’re absolutely going to get to work,” he added. “We’re going to work to be the best and we’re going to have that attitude every single day that we’re out there.”
The 30-year-old Jay spent the past six seasons as head coach at River View High School outside of Kennewick, where he had a 44-22 record. His teams reached the state Class A playoffs three times, including a spot in the quarterfinals in 2009 and the semifinals in 2012.
Jay will be introduced to his new players, the school and the community at 7 p.m. tonight in the Monroe High School performing arts center.
His hiring follows the resignation of previous coach Dick Abrams, who left in January after three seasons with the team. Abrams is now living in Idaho and working as a school counselor.
During the Monroe interview process, Jay said he “did some research … and it’s just an incredibly supportive football community that wants to win. So that was an instant attraction for me and my family.
“I get a feeling that (the team and community) are hungry. They’re hungry for success, and to be honest I’m hungry for success as well. So I think it’s a good match. Everyone likes to win games and to build a program that we can all be proud of.
“I also really like that it’s a one-high-school town and the youth football program is fantastic. So the infrastructure is there, and now I’m just excited to get to work.”
Monroe athletic director Joe Delp said he had conversations with administrators at River View, “and they referred to (Jay) as a kid magnet. Kids gravitate to him because he’s so positive and he’s a leader. He’s always working to improve himself and to help kids be the best they can be.”
According to Delp, River View had a student population of just 340, and yet Jay still had more than 70 kids turning out for football. “We wanted to get someone who is young, enthusiastic and is ready to build a program … so we’re very excited to get him on board here,” Delp said.
Jay will complete the school year at River View, and then head to Monroe for all or part of spring practices. “I’ll be over there as soon as possible,” he said. “No doubt I’ll be there when school is out, but my goal is to be there for the week and a half of spring football.”
Jay’s family includes his wife Hayley, a 6-year-old son Brady and a 2-year old daughter Sophie. He will also teach English in Monroe, though it is not yet known if he will be teaching right away at the high school.