Saturday, December 22, 2018
WHAT A GASS!: A.J. GASS RETURNS TO ESKS AS S.T. COACH
Gass just completed his fourth season at Garces, where he held an 18-28 career record. The Rams went 4-8 last year including 2-3 in the Southwest Yosemite League. The team beat Redwood 45-0 in the opening round of the Division II Central Section playoffs before losing to Tulare Union, 34-27, in the quarterfinals.
The 43-year-old Gass has a considerable amount of football experience on his resume, with a large portion of it coming north of the border.
A graduate of Servite High School in Anaheim, he played collegiately at Fresno State before embarking on a successful career in the CFL, where he played 10 years with Edmonton. During that time the Eskimos were two-time Grey Cup champions with Gass starring as a four-time CFL All-Star at linebacker.
He then got into coaching — starting as a defensive assistant coach with the Eskimos before taking over as head coach at Servite from 2013 to 2015. He then came to Bakersfield to lead the Rams.
Gass said he’s looking forward to coach special teams in the CFL, which play an integral part in the fabric and outcome of games.
“It’s awesome,” he said. “I’m excited to be back.”
While in Bakersfield, Gass established a solid, tough program with the Rams. Prior to his arrival, Garces was coming off successive 2-9 and 1-9 seasons. Gass’ first year in charge they went 7-4 and 3-2 in the SWYL, while the year after the team had a 4-1 league mark and reached the Central Section D-II semifinals.
Gass also scheduled tough teams on the Rams out-of-league schedule, evidenced on the 2018 docket when the team had home games against Bellflower-St. John Bosco and Fresno-San Joaquin Memorial.
“Very good football coach,” said Garces athletic director Brian Dignan. “Coach Gass got the players to play hard for him. He preached finishing plays. The kids really respected him.”
Gass believes he built the program on the pillars of hard work and discipline.
“That’s how we gained our advantage. We did that starting in the offseason,” he said.
“Be a program with a strong foundation based on discipline and sacrifice. I think, for the most part, the kids bought into it right away. And the ones that didn’t just kind of faded off.”
Gass, his wife Stacey — the couple met in Edmonton during A.J.'s playing days — and two children will relocate to Edmonton in May.
(By Teddy Feinberg, Bakersfield.com https://www.bakersfield.com/sports/bvarsity/garces-coach-a-j-gass-accepts-position-with-cfl-s/article_41aaca06-055d-11e9-ac08-6bd44e68d904.amp.html?fbclid=IwAR1H3UY6Ky2vPL5hippypkn6L50KTPBTPsDrd0kgd16uPuEk_u5zP3BLEQU)