Brian Schottenheimer Seeks to Earn His Keep

Article excerpt

Believe it or not, 27-year-old Brian Schottenheimer had a bigger impediment than his youth when he pursued the Washington Redskins' quarterbacks coach job - his mother.

Schottenheimer considered the perception of nepotism while evaluating the job offer from his father, Redskins coach Marty Schottenheimer. Urging particular caution was his mom, Pat.

"[Nepotism] was something that was debated and talked about a lot in my family," Brian said. "My mother was the biggest opponent of [me taking the job]. She didn't want me to be perceived as a guy who was given a job because [I'm] the head coach's son. And I've always wanted to be perceived as my own person, because growing up people always referred to [me] as `Marty's son.'

"I always used to laugh - at some point in my life I hope people go up to him in a grocery store and say, `Hey, aren't you Brian Schottenheimer's father?' "

That day isn't quite here, not with the father in such a high-profile role and the son a first-time NFL position coach. But if Brian's demeanor is any indication, the old man just might be bragging one day.

Despite being six years younger than Jeff George, the Redskins' starting quarterback, Brian doesn't hesitate to bark instructions in practice. And when he talks about goals, he speaks earnestly of becoming a head coach.

"The thing that gives me confidence is my desire to work and my thirst for knowledge," Schottenheimer said. "I love football. . . . When you feel a passion for something you do, and you don't mind putting in the hours, that's when you know you have a chance to be successful."

With brother Kurt Schottenheimer as the Redskins' defensive coordinator, the charge of nepotism has been heard in some football circles. Marty Schottenheimer even acknowledged it after hiring Brian, saying the move would have happened more quickly if Kurt hadn't been his sibling.

Brian remains wary of perceptions. At Redskin Park, he calls his father "Coach" when speaking to him and "Marty" in conversation with others - even though others often say, "Your dad." Of course, when he has dinner with his mother and father, it's simply "Dad."

"Actually, I slip up from time to time," Brian Schottenheimer said with a laugh. "We'll be at the house having dinner, and I'll be talking to my mom, and I'll say, `Well, Marty and I . . .' "

The younger Schottenheimer was coming off two seasons in the college ranks when his father took over the Redskins. He spent last season coaching tight ends at Southern California and 1999 overseeing wide receivers at Syracuse; before that, he was an NFL quality control assistant for the Kansas City Chiefs (in 1998, under his father) and the St. Louis Rams (1997).

After Paul Hackett's USC staff was fired during the winter, Schottenheimer could have returned to the NFL as a quality control coach or remained in the college ranks. …