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Lee: Rogers High Pirates put their faith in Glasser

Tommy Glasser is cut from a different cloth. It’s the type of fabric from which Rogers football coach Matt Miethe would like to select his captains every year.

Each spring, Miethe accepts applications for captains. The candidates are interviewed for about 30 minutes by Miethe and assistant coach Brett Hale. They announce the selections before summer camp.

Miethe takes selecting captains more seriously than he does starters.

“I want to put the people out there who are doing all the right things off the field before we get on the field,” he said. “If I’m going to put guys up there to be leaders, I’m going to make sure they’re who we want out there.”

Not every applicant makes the grade. Five or six captains are picked each year, and 10 applied in Miethe’s first year in 2007. Eight applied this season.

Senior Glasser was a no-brainer pick among the six captains this year.

“One of the important elements we look for is ‘servanthood,’ ” Miethe said.

Glasser displayed that quality when he agreed to move from fullback, where he was a backup last year, to fill a starting position at right guard this season. Even though he knew he would be greatly overmatched. At 5-foot-8 and 165 pounds, Glasser is out of place as a lineman.

“He did it for the good of his team,” Miethe said.

Glasser never felt more out of position than when he lined up across from a Mead nose guard that outsized him by 6 inches and nearly 200 pounds.

“I just did what the coaches wanted me to do. They needed me there,” Glasser said.

Glasser is the youngest of a blended family of 13 children. His mother, Phuong Doan, migrated with eight children from Vietnam about 20 years ago. Tommy’s father, Bill Glasser, had three children before he met Doan. Tommy is one of two boys between Glasser and Doan.

Tommy is the lone football player among the siblings. A three-year letterman, he’s been a two-year starter in wrestling and a three-year starter and three-year letterman as a defender in soccer.

Of the three sports, there’s no doubt which one has been most difficult for him.

“Everything’s been a challenge,” Glasser said of football. “I work my hardest and try my best to make things work.”

He’s glad he made the switch to guard, though. Two of Rogers’ most talented football players are sophomore running backs, including the fullback. So he would have seen limited playing time had he not switched.

Glasser, who carries a 4.0 grade-point average, is on track to the school’s valedictorian – a goal he set as a freshman.

“He’s got a huge future in something,” Miethe said.

Miethe was pointing out reasons why he puts so much emphasis in selecting captains when he recalled a quote he heard from former Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz.

“He said you generally have two crises a season,” Miethe said. “Around here we have two a week.”

Dealing with difficult situations is shared among the captains.

Miethe has a faith in Glasser that he doesn’t always have in many of his players.

“If I had to have a kid come babysit my kids, I trust Tommy,” Miethe said. “I can’t say that about many of my players.”

Among the frequent challenges the captains face at Rogers is keeping the team focused during a win-starved season.

“Generally the morale is high,” Glasser said of the 0-7 Pirates. “We’ve been improving every week. Nobody has quit the team.”

Glasser recently decided what career he wants to pursue.

“I want to be a fireman,” he said. “I love helping people.”

Spoken like a true servant.

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