Sammie Stroughter, 31, would much rather be the head of the football program than play professional football.
He played in the NFL from 2009 to 2012 and has since been assistant wide receiver coach at Granite bay High School, his alma mater where he was an all-metro player as a senior. He prefers the community high school atmosphere instead of the intense competition in the professional field.
“It is a dream-slash-nightmare, you are always getting evaluated,” he said. “You get to that point where you are ashamed to tell people what you do, because they judge you.”
Because of this, Stroughter would often tell people he worked as a personal trainer instead of being wide receiver for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“You can ask anybody right now that plays in the NFL they wouldn’t change anything,” he said. “If you were to tell them that were going to die because of this later down the road, those people would still go out there and live their dream.”
Stroughter also found a fame aspect to the NFL title.
“You always have to watch out, do people want to be around me for me, or do they want to be around me because I’m in the NFL?” He said, “It comes with the perks.”
Becoming head coach at a high school, however, puts Stroughter in a healthier environment.
“I can really affect the change in these kids that might have a different perspective,” he said. “I could be a mentor, a life coach to them.”
Positively affecting his players is something he really emphasizes.
“I went into coaching because I had coaches that made an impact on my life,” he said. “You become things that impact you the most.”
Coaching greatly affected Stroughter’s life because he did not have a father figure growing up and his male coaches filled that role.
“One coach could be saying the same thing my mom is saying, but because it was from a male’s perspective, I heard that one,” he said. “They disciplined me, they kept me humble.”
Coming to Rio is also a milestone for him.
“One of my mentors, my father figure, my pops, this is his alma mater, so it really meant something to come to Rio,” he said.
The school is also a little out of his comfort zone.
“I was comfortable in Granite Bay, I was just the assistant wide receiver coach,” he said. “Now I have an opportunity to be a head coach at Rio Americano, where I can lead my own. I can draw up the blueprint of success.”
He is very excited about the season and hopes to bring even more victory in games to come. He cites the hours of practice in reference to the team’s success.
“They really love the grind,” he said. “You work all year long, you work nine months to only play ten games, that is a lot of sacrifice.”
Stroughter wants to be on site during school hours as a monitor. He is welcome to this idea as it will provide an campus presence for his players. After high school Stroughter became one of the most honored players at Oregon State. His NFL career was cut short by a foot injury.