Ironic reunion: former OSU quarterback Joe Germaine coaching in Arizona
Published: Monday, October 11, 2010
Updated: Friday, June 15, 2012 22:06
Arizona State linebacker Paul Reynolds stepped onto the field for the final drive of the 1997 Rose Bowl against Ohio State as confident as could be.
The Sun Devils had just scored a touchdown to go up 17-14 with less than two minutes to play, and the Buckeyes were sending out an unproven sophomore quarterback to lead them on their final drive.
"Pat Tillman (Reynolds' ASU teammate) and I saw this baby-faced guy with big ear pads come running onto the field," Reynolds said. "We looked at each other and said, ‘We've got this in the bag.' Unfortunately, we know how that turned out."
Joe Germaine led a 65-yard game-winning drive, culminating with a 5-yard touchdown pass to receiver David Boston, to beat the Sun Devils, 20-17.
Thirteen years later, Reynolds, the athletic director at Queen Creek High School in Queen Creek, Ariz., hired the "baby-faced" quarterback with "big ear pads" to be his varsity football coach.
"My first day in the weight room, we took a photo of the kids and me," said Joe Germaine, 1997 Rose Bowl MVP. Reynolds "had it PhotoShopped and put me in a Sun Devils shirt. Naturally, I did the same to him, only putting him in a Buckeyes jersey."
Germaine played in the NFL for five seasons and has had multiple stints in the Arena Football League since graduating from OSU in 1998.
In his first season as coach, Germaine is 5-1, with a triple-overtime victory over the defending Arizona Class 4A Division II state champions.
"I've always had a passion for the game," Germaine said. "I loved practicing. I loved going to meetings. I just loved learning the game."
Hired by Reynolds in March, Germaine was a quarterback coach at Basha High School in Arizona for three years and an assistant at Mesa Community College for two years before coming to Queen Creek.
"I got into coaching once I started playing Arena Football," Germaine said. "The schedule was different from the NFL, and I had the time to do it."
The Arena Football League plays its games from April to August instead of September through January, as the NFL does.
"It's a thrill, being a head coach," he said. "I'm seeing the game from a different vantage point."
Germaine played for OSU from 1996–1998. Known for his prolific passing and unflappable composure, he threw for 6,370 yards, third-most in OSU history, and 56 touchdowns, second-most in OSU history.
Reynolds said the unflappable composure is still there.
"In the triple-overtime win, he didn't look nervous for one second," he said. "He has such a calm demeanor."
Queen Creek won the triple-overtime thriller 49-42, securing the game with a goal-line stand in the third extra period.
"The kids definitely take after their coach," Reynolds said. "They're high school kids, you know. You expect them to make mistakes, but no one lost their composure and they held on for the win."
Germaine said he holds high expectations for his players.
"We have very high standards on and off the field," Germaine said. "We teach accountability, and the kids have just been great."
Against Illinois on Oct. 2, OSU quarterback Terrelle Pryor passed Germaine for seventh on the "all-time total offense" list at OSU. Germaine had 6,094 yards of total offense as a Buckeye.
"I think Terrelle is a terrific talent," Germaine said. "I expect him to be one of the all-time greats at Ohio State once it's all said and done."
He said some of the criticism Pryor faced last season as a sophomore was unfair. Germaine said everyone has to mature and credited the OSU coaching staff for helping Pryor develop his game.
"Great coaches make great players," he said. Jim "Tressel and quarterbacks coach Nick Siciliano are great teachers of the game. It's easy to see why Pryor is where he's at with coaches like that."
Germaine said his coach at OSU, John Cooper, taught him a lot about the game.
"He was fair and treated his players with respect," he said. "I try to do those same things for my players."
Understandably, many of Queen Creek's players are Arizona State fans. Queen Creek is only about 30 miles from the ASU campus.
"It's funny," Germaine said. "We have an ASU-OSU thing going on. They razz me a little bit and I razz them a little bit, but they know that I'm a Buckeye, and there's no changing that."
Reynolds said Germaine is a great coach and is only going to get better.
"He's been doing a great job," he said. "I don't think the kids realize what they've got, but I sure do. Hopefully, we can get him to stick around here a while."
It might be tough for Reynolds to keep the former OSU star at Queen Creek. Germaine said he would love to coach at the collegiate level. He even hinted at the possibility of coaching at his alma mater.
"Who knows?" he said. "Maybe a few years down the road, Tressel will be hiring and I'll come back to Ohio State. OSU has a special place in my heart and that'd be something."
Although he said he loves coaching, he still has a desire to play.
"I wish more than anything to get an opportunity to play again," he said. "I keep in shape, hoping that chance will come — you never know."
As for the rest of Queen Creek's season, Germaine said they've got one of the tougher schedules in the state, but that doesn't mean his goals aren't set high.
"You can imagine how we want to finish," he said.