Jan. 29, 2016
By Matt Winkeljohn | The Good Word
Having dabbled in the “real world,” Tevin Washington is transitioning to a new field, starting over and loving it.
Sure, the former Georgia Tech quarterback finds himself cramped while sharing modest office space with several other neophytes, yet even while running errands for others rather than a business he couldn’t be happier than to be back home.
Washington set several ACC records and a slew of school marks while leading the Yellow Jackets through 31 starts from late 2010 through 2012. He went out near the top. He’s back as a graduate assistant with the football team, chasing a delayed coaching dream from the bottom in a most secure environment.
A month or so ago, he was an assistant manager at an AT&T store in Conyers. Now, he’s wrapping up his third week cutting up film and compiling data to help Tech coaches in the home stretch of recruiting.
The wiring has been in place for a long time. His father, Lewis, spent many years coaching basketball and football back in Wetumpka, Ala., and an uncle was prominent in coaching as well. It just took a while for Tevin to turn that direction.
“All my life, my dad was a coach and I was in a locker room since I was 4,” said the 2012 business management graduate. “When I got my degree, I kind of wanted to get some separation from sports, see if there was something I might like.
“I was looking forward to trying a career in business, but I learned that I love and enjoy sports and working with other people and working in a team environment where I can see the fruits of my labor and everybody wants to achieve a common goal.”
After graduating in the spring of ’12, Washington stuck with football – from a distance. He wanted to keep playing, and kept training.
He had cause to believe he could stretch out his playing career.
With the Jackets, Washington set ACC records for touchdowns scored by a quarterback in a career (38) and in a single season (20 in ‘12), and he’s also at or near the top of several Tech career and single-season charts.
Turned out football was no longer meant for playing, and after moving briefly from trainee to trainer locally at Top Speed, Washington wound his way into the, “business world.” He had an assist from former Jacket Keith Holmes, a starting cornerback on Tech’s 1990 national championship team.
“When I came in Georgia Tech, he was the vice president of the Georgia/South Carolina mobility for AT&T,” Tevin said. “When I came out of GT looking for a job, I reached out to him.
“[Eventually] I interviewed with one of the area managers, and they gave me an opportunity to start with AT&T and from there I went through training. I was very blessed, and thankful to Keith.”
Even after starting with AT&T in the fall of 2013, Washington carried a coaching virus and passed on chances to move straight into the field.
He even accepted, and then declined a chance to coach at Huntingdon College, a Division III school in Montgomery, Ala., where Jackets head coach Paul Johnson, his coach at Tech, referred him.
“I had some high school opportunities, but my goal is to be a college coach,” he said. “My high school coaches have a good relationship with Huntington, and they reached out. They brought me in for an interview. It went well. Coach Johnson had actually called to give me a nod of confidence, and they hired me.
“That was in May, 2014 . . . It was basically a GA, but it was a full-time job. It wasn’t as much compensation as I would need to live on, about $500 a month. I would get to live in a dorm, but there was no food. I had to retract it. I reached out to other places, but never got an offer.”
So he kept plugging away at AT&T, poking Johnson now and again.
“I put a bug in coach Johnson’s ear; it might have been 2013,” Washington said. “We sat down and talked once or twice in 2014, more last year. It wasn’t a frequent line of communication, but he knew I wanted to get into coaching.”
Not long ago, former Tech linebacker Steven Sylvester wrapped up his graduate assistantship and took job at Jacksonville University. Washington saw that as a former teammate opening a door for him.
“When Steven moved on, I put another bug in [Johnson’s] ear,” he said. “I had another opportunity set up at another smaller school, but it wasn’t going to be enough financially.”
Johnson called back, and Washington’s a student again. He’s pursuing a graduate degree in building construction and administration while studying to be a college coach.
The dual-threat standout who was second in Tech history among quarterbacks with 2,225 career rushing yards while also putting up the second-most efficient passing season for the Jackets (155.4 rating in 2011), is again traveling two trails.
“Actually, my grandfather – who’s in real estate – is aging, and there’s going to be a point where that property will be handed down and I want to be educated to the point where I understand the business of property management,” he said.
The work days are long, longer than they were at AT&T.
It doesn’t feel that way at home.
Mom and Dad are on board; Monica and Lewis approve.
“It doesn’t seem long when you enjoy what you’re doing. It doesn’t feel like a long day when you’ve got a passion about your job,” Washington said. “They told me, ‘Follow your dream, make sure you’re doing what you love. Make sure you utilize your time to pursue something you love, and try your best at whatever you do.’ ”