When it comes to the game of football, Jason Dumont, has almost seen it all. A defensive standout in high school and later at the University of Iowa, Dumont is now in his first-year as an assistant …
When it comes to the game of football, Jason Dumont, has almost seen it all. A defensive standout in high school and later at the University of Iowa, Dumont is now in his first-year as an assistant coach at Mid-Prairie.
“As I tell the kids, I may not have seen it all, but I’ve seen a lot more than they have,” said Dumont. “So, listen to Coach Dumont. He is right on a lot of these things.”
Dumont began his study of the game on his family’s farm two miles west of Wellman.
“I was a big, tough farm kid,” laughed Dumont. “I baled hay for three bucks an hour. You put that in there. I was talking to those kids today and they’re talking about minimum wage being $5.15 an hour. I used to work all day and come home with eight bucks in my pocket.”
When he wasn’t toiling in the farm fields, Dumont was toiling on the football field at Mid-Prairie High School. A starter on both sides of the ball, he played both defensive end and tight end for the Golden Hawks. Following his graduation in 1988, he was offered a scholarship by Hayden Fry and the Iowa Hawkeyes.
“Playing for Coach Fry was just awesome,” said Dumont. He is the greatest coach in America. He is the closest thing to a father you have other than your own.”
Those emotions served as a motivating factor for Dumont and his Hawkeye teammates.
“He’s the kind of coach you want to play your hardest for,” said Dumont. “I don’t think there are a lot of coaches out there that get their kids to want to win for them. When you went out on the field, you wanted to be able to go into the locker room with a win and not have to look Coach Fry in the face.”
While at Iowa, Dumont experienced both the highs and the lows of major college football. Redshirted his freshman year, he started at defensive end in 1989. That year, the Hawkeyes finished 5-6, their first losing season since 1980. The following year Iowa shocked the Big Ten by winning a share of the conference title and a trip to the Rose Bowl.
“We had at one time or another three or four freshmen playing quite a bit on that ‘89 team,” said Dumont. “We were competitive. We lost a lot of close games. The difference between that year and the following year was really senior leadership. That why I hope to see some of the seniors at Mid-Prairie step up.”
Dumont moved to defensive tackle for the 1991 season and the team tied a school record by going 10-1-1. Among those victories was a 16-9 win at Ohio State. The game was played one day after a series of fatal shootings rocked the University of Iowa and left four professors and two students dead and one student paralyzed.
“That was something that was a real rallying point,” said Dumont. “We tried to make it for the University. After the game, we ran up into the stands and shook hands with all of our fans. Other than the Rose Bowl, that may be the most memorable game in my career.”
Following graduation in 1993, Dumont went into business for himself. He currently works as a financial advisor for his own company, Successful Financial Management, in Iowa City.
But Dumont couldn’t get football off his mind so he laced up his spikes and headed back to the playing field. This time, however, it would not be as a player, but as an official. Dumont spent six years wearing black and white stripes and last fall was selected to officiate the Iowa playoffs.
Nevertheless, the thought of coaching was never far from his thoughts.
“I always knew that at some time I’d get into coaching. Where and when I didn’t know,” he said.
As things developed, the “where” turned out to be Mid-Prairie his alma mater. Head coach Mark Dalton first approached Dumont about becoming an assistant a year ago. Time commitments made it impossible to accept, however. But when he asked again this summer, Dumont decided to give it a shot.
“The first thing I look for is the type of person the individual is,” said Dalton. “You have to have quality people when you’re working with high school athletes. Jason is a quality person. He’s enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the game and he has a real good rapport with the kids. It’s a great situation.”
Despite his vast experience as a player and an official, Dumont admits that adjusting to coaching high school football has been a challenge.
“It’s very difficult in high school football to remember these kids are still high schoolers,” said Dumont. “I’d love to see them be able to do all of the things I want them to do. With high school kids it’s difficult to know that you’ve taught it and they know it, but they just don’t do it.”
Perhaps the biggest challenge facing Dalton, Dumont and the rest of the Golden Hawk coaching staff, however, will be building a winning tradition at Mid-Prairie. Play-off appearances haven’t just been few and far between in Wellman, they’ve been non-existent.
“I think any team’s ultimate goal is to reach that point,” said Dumont. “Who knows where we’re going to be at the end of the year. But maybe we can start planting the seeds.”
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here