This is the fourth feature of a series leading into fall camp focusing on the Panther football coaching staff. Coming Friday: Keary Colbert.
Football coaches are often considered a different breed. During the season, sleeping on a couch in the office can almost become the norm. Many fathers who are coaches will either push their sons in a different direction because of the demands or allow them to embrace it, knowing that having their kids around the practice facility will allow them to spend more time with them.
This is a story of the latter.
From the day that Jesse Minter was born, his father Rick was already well-versed in the game. During Jesse’s most influence years, the elder Minter was the head coach at Cincinnati, a period of 10 years that helped shape Jesse into what he is today, one of the youngest defensive coordinators at the FBS level.
“My first memory of football came when my dad was at Ball State,” Minter said. “He was there from 1985-91. I remember my mom taking us to a lot of practices. It was probably toward the end of his time at Ball State that I have those memories as in 1985 when he started I was just two years old. We would go to a lot of the games and practices.
| All In The Family
Jesse and his dad, Rick Minter, spent the 2010
“I saw how much fun my dad was having coaching a group of guys. The camaraderie that exists on a team and being part of something special is what took me at an early age.
“My dad really allowed us to embrace football growing up. He wanted us to be around as much as possible. From the time he moved on from Ball State, as I wasn’t around the game as much anymore as I grew up in a split family. I wasn’t necessarily around it Monday thru Thursday when he was working 17 or 18 hours a day, but we were around almost every weekend and he really let us be on the inside, and that is unique as a kid.”
After Ball State, Rick spent a season at Notre Dame which would also have a great influence on Jesse’s young life. It would be a scenario repeated later in life as well.
“I grew up in Indiana, so Notre Dame was the deal,” Minter continued. “To be able to have all-access to that became the norm. So even if it wasn’t the norm for every-other kid, it became the norm for me. And there was something I really loved about it.”
Jesse started playing football in second grade and ironically, hated it. He played every sport growing up, but at the time, football didn’t seem as much fun. After that, he didn’t really play again until seventh grade.
“I had some buddies who were going to play junior high football and ironically it is there where I had a coach that made me realize I wanted to be a coach when I got older,” Minter said. “I really looked up to him and had a connection with him as a kid. I think I knew from then that I wanted to get into coaching and so everything I did in football helped me to prepare myself for coaching.
When Rick first took the head coaching job at Cincinnati, it caused him to leave Notre Dame, a big change for Jesse and his brother.
“I was a 10 or 11 year old kid going to Notre Dame games which was the greatest thing of all time,” Minter continued. “When he told us, I had never heard of the University of Cincinnati. I had heard of the Bengals in the NFL, but that was it. Within a year, things had changed and that became the program I really grew up with. To this day, that program still has a very special place in my heart.”
Minter even met his wife while living in Cincinnati, a memory as he claims is by far is best away from football.
“By the time I was 16 or 17, I was able to develop relationships with the assistant coaches who came through Cincinnati,” Minter said. “My dad had some really good assistants at the time. I got to see how they worked and understand what football does to people.
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To no surprise, Jesse was a pretty good player and when high school came to an end, it shocked no one to see him move on to the collegiate level.
“I really wanted to play college football and the Division III route just seemed like the right approach. At the time, my day was still the coach at Cincinnati so to go to Mount St. Joe just seemed right as it allowed me to be closer to him than I was in high school.”
Just showing how things have the ability to repeat themselves, after his dad spent a year at Notre Dame while Jesse was young, Jesse returned to Notre Dame as an intern while his dad returned to become the defensive coordinator. To no ones surprise, that year is among his best memories in football.
“After college, when I became an intern with Notre Dame, I got to live with my dad, and that was a truly special time for me,” Minter said. “The whole experience of that year was incredible and we had a lot of fun. Other than my first year as a defensive coordinator, there is no other year that I learned more in coaching.”
Rick is now with the Philadelphia Eagles, which has opened a new chapter for Jesse and what he is able to learn from some of the greatest minds in the game.
“I think the greatest thing about it is that they are still just football coaches,” Minter said in regards to NFL coaches. “They don’t view themselves differently than anyone else. What a privilege it is to be around them and people like Chip Kelly. I get to see how he operates which I can bring back to the Georgia State program.
“In reality, the unique thing about those guys is how great of people they are. They are very welcoming and just want to talk football. They ask me questions just how I am asking them questions. What is great about this profession is how everyone is just trying to get better. For a week, I just become one of the guys when I visit.”
As one of the youngest defensive coordinators at the BCS level this year, there is not doubt that there are still many chapters to be written for Jesse and it would be to no one’s surprise if several of them revolve around his dad.
There should also be no doubt that the time around his dad and those who he has associated with has molded Jesse. He has embraced the game at all different levels and will now look to lead Georgia State in its first season at the FBS level and a member of the Sun Belt Conference.