If Cardinal Stritch Catholic graduate Bryan Gasser had been traveling by airplane the last several years, his frequent flyer miles would be through the roof.
Gasser, a Northwood native who starred in football, basketball and track at Stritch, is now the Director of High School Relations for the University of Toledo football program. At certain times of the year, his job entails getting to the office around 5 a.m. and leaving around midnight.
“My responsibilities are managing our recruiting board,” said Gasser, 29. “I manage all the communication that goes out from the football staff to players, coaches, parents. Any phone calls, emails, any mail we send out kind of goes through my office. I plan and organize all of our (high school) visits on campus. I set up the appointments with our academic people and show them the dorms and the indoor facility and the rec room. On official visits, I set up all the restaurants we go to and hotels and how we’re going to travel around town and who they are going to get hosted by.”
|Cardinal Stritch Catholic graduate
Gasser was officially named to his position last December, after serving on an interim basis last fall.
He was an All-Ohio Athletic Conference tight end at Ohio Northern University before graduating in 2006, and then served as an assistant coach at his alma mater from 2006-08, working with tight ends and running backs.
“I was a really good student and business major and I graduated with honors,” Gasser said, “but I also took Theories of Coaching classes. The guy who coached tight ends my senior year left and took another job, and that opened up my senior year. I was interested in getting my MBA and getting my masters degree. Dean Paul, the head coach, said it would be a great opportunity to be able to be involved in the football aspect and give me an opportunity to work on my masters.
“I started on my masters after I left Ohio Northern. It was good experience. We had some good teams there and I had a chance to work with some good players.”
Gasser became the offensive line coach and special teams coach at Otsego High School in 2009, while working towards his masters in sports administration at Bowling Green State University.
“May of 2010 is when I met up with coach (Matt) Campbell (at UT),” Gasser said. “I started out just volunteering for the team when I finished up my thesis at BG. I got hired on in June as a grad assistant and spent the 2010 season working with coach Campbell.”
Following the 2010 season, Gasser left UT to become the offensive coordinator and help coach tight ends and wide receivers at Notre Dame College, a Division II school in South Euclid, Ohio.
Gasser stayed in touch with Campbell, who was named the Rockets’ new head coach in December 2011, and returned to UT last fall to work as a graduate assistant coach.
“I believe in coach Campbell,” Gasser said. “When I was a grad assistant in 2010, I was working with Matt on the offensive line when he was the offensive coordinator. This was an opportunity for me to develop my recruiting skills. It gave me an opportunity to really take over and consume myself with the recurring aspects of coaching.”
Gasser said he took an interim position as UT’s director of high school relations to kind of bide his time waiting for a position as an assistant coach/coordinator to open up with the Rockets.
“My family’s from Toledo and my dad (Jim) graduated from the University of Toledo, and I’ve gone to a ton of games in the Glass Bowl and I got to experience it as a fan,” Gasser said. “To be able to work with the University of Toledo and coach the Rockets is kind of neat, how that was able to transpire. We have a great administration at Toledo, and (athletic director) Mike O’Brien gives us all the support and resources we need to be successful.
“I’m kind of heading this ship that is in a great direction. We’ve had the No. 1 recruiting class (in the Mid-American Conference) the last four years, according to Rivals.com and Scout.com. We have a great formula in place. UT sells itself. When players have a chance to see the campus and facilities and hear about the tradition and meet the people, it’s the best recuiting resource you can have.”
The Rockets, who went 9-4 last season and played in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, kick off the season Aug. 31 at Florida, and Gasser is banking on the squad having a successful season.
“There is a lot of consistency in what’s been going on at Toledo,” he said. “We’re about as talented a program as we’ve had since coach Campbell’s been a part of this program (five years). Defensively, we had a large senior class last year, but this year’s senior class got some experience playing behind those guys. We feel we might be more talented on that side of the ball. Offensively, we’ve been ranked in the top 20 in the country and this offense is going to be as good as we’ve had.”
NOTE: Cardinal Stritch graduate Michael Blazevich is a second-year non-scholarship player on the UT roster. Gasser said Blazevich works with the Rockets’ scout team as a safety.