Sunday’s trip to San Francisco will be somewhat of a walk down memory lane for Dirk Koetter, taking him back to the city where his coaching career began, post-Idaho.

In 1985, at the age of 26, Koetter left the high school ranks in his hometown to join Division II legend Vic Rowen and his three-man coaching staff as offensive coordinator of the San Francisco State Gators. Rounding out the staff was Andy Reid, who coached the offensive line for three years.

It was a far cry from leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or Kansas City Chiefs. In fact football doesn’t even exist anymore at the University – though it assembled an impressive trio of coaches in the ‘80s, launching Koetter and Reid to great careers while winning 130-plus games under Rowen over 28 seasons.

Koetter has fond memories of his first college opportunity.

Dirk Koetter – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Dirk Koetter – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

“What a unique experience for me, coming from a small town in Idaho,” Koetter said. “Vic Rowen was a legend in Division II. A three-man staff – Vic Rowen, Andy Reid and myself, and then we had several players that helped.

“We sold hot dogs on the quad every Thursday to raise money for our trips,” Koetter said. “A big recruiting trip was deciding if we were going to pay for a guy’s lunch when he came on campus.”

Koetter recalled the student union doing an apartheid demonstration – “an alarm would go off and they’d all go down on the ground,” he said – which is one way to culture a 20-something year old from a small town in Idaho.

“It was a wild place. I’m a young guy from Pocatello, Idaho, so my eyes were wide open,” Koetter said. “Quite a learning experience.”

If holding your own fundraisers doesn’t scream “Not-The-SEC”, coaches of the low-budget athletics programs also had to teach classes. And Koetter probably became a more well-versed coach for it.

“I was one heck of a volleyball, tennis and weight lifting instructor (laughs),” he said.

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About the Author: Zach Shapiro

Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders. Contact him at: [email protected]
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