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Originally published Friday, May 1, 2009 at 12:00 AM

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Former WSU QB Jason Gesser named coach at Eastside Catholic

This will be the first head-coaching position for Gesser after being an assistant coach at Franklin Pierce and Federal Way

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Former Washington State quarterback Jason Gesser has been hired as head football coach at Eastside Catholic.

This is the first head-coaching position for Gesser, 29, who replaces longtime coach Bill Marsh, who resigned after 10 seasons with the Crusaders in March.

Gesser has worked as a college football analyst for FSN the past two years and plans to continue working for the station. From 2007-08 he also he served as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for Franklin Pierce in Tacoma. In 2006, he was an assistant coach for Federal Way.

"For me, the timing couldn't have been better," Gesser said. "This, I believe, is the premier job in the Northwest. We have a new campus, a new building, and I think this is such a good fit. We hope to create a dynasty for the next 10-plus years, and our goal is certainly a state championship."

Gesser, who was set to play in the Arena Football League (AFL) this season, thanked a twist of fate for jump-starting his coaching career. Earlier this year, the AFL canceled the 2009 season due to financial problems and opened Gesser's availability.

"Things happen for a reason," Gesser said with a laugh. "This has been an unbelievable process."

Gesser is the winningest quarterback in WSU history and was the only Cougar to be elected team captain three straight seasons, culminating in the 2002-03 Rose Bowl season.

Gesser signed with the Tennessee Titans as an undrafted free agent in 2003. He also spent time in the Canadian Football League and the AFL.

"Jason's proven record of success, both as an athlete and coach, will benefit our student-athletes and our community," Eastside Catholic president Jim Kubacki said in a release.

Athletic director Lance Gatter added: "We're awfully excited to have Jason start his era at Eastside Catholic."

Gesser praised the winning tradition of the Sammamish school, but after graduating 31 seniors he said it will be a rebuilding process in his first year.

The Crusaders have gone 27-7 over the past three seasons and last year won the Metro League title for the first time since 1993. Last year, Eastside Catholic advanced to the Class 3A state quarterfinals but was eliminated by Lakes (of Lakewood) 18-14.

"All we have to do is get them to realize we're the defending Metro champs," Gesser said. "The potential is limitless at this school."

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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