HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- It's been a busy 10 days or so for new Rice linebackers Coach Jon Kay. "I've learned more football in the last 10 days than I have in the last 10 years in terms of immersing myself in things that are unfamiliar," Kay said.
Coach Kay shocked the Texas High School football world when he stepped down from North Shore High School, stating it was the right time for a change.
"It was going to take the right situation for me to look elsewhere. Everything they are doing here is in-line with what athletics should be about. My daughter is at graduating age, and the transition at North Shore, I feel like I was ready to move on."
Coach and North Shore were a perfect fit. He worked his way up from 7th-grade coach at GPISD's Cunningham Middle School to defensive coordinator under the architect of the Mustangs program David Aymond.
He led the Mustangs program to four state championships, compiling an unbelievable 118-17 in his nine years as head coach.
"I learned at an early age you roll your sleeves up and eyes down, and you go to work. That is what I did at North Shore, and that's what I plan to do here," Kay said.
One of Kay's most significant changes will be leading a program of 280 kids to coach a position group of just six players. "Those kids (Rice players) have welcomed me with open arms, and that has helped the transition a bunch. My focus right now is on them individually as men."
And as far as the job he left, Coach Kay says he's excited to see former offensive coordinator and longtime North Shore coach Willie Gaston get his opportunity to lead the Mustangs program.
He'll lean on assistants for input, just like Kay had done in the past.
"Every decision we've made the last nine years has been a collective effort. Willie Gaston, assistants Shaun Wynn and Garrett Cross sat down, so I'm excited to see them take that program to greater heights," Kay said.