As the assistant football coach for Kokomo High School, Jason Spear’s coaching career has come full circle.
This year, his son will become a high school player under new Head Coach Austin Colby – whom Spear coached over a decade ago.
Over 10 years ago, Spear was an assistant coach for the football team under the direction of Colby’s father, then-Head Coach Brett Colby (2007-2017), when Colby was on the Wildkat team as a player. Spear’s son, Shayne Spear, would hang around the high school players when he was a child, and now he’ll be coached by one of his high school idols.
“Austin was one of [Shayne’s] role models. There was a whole group of kids that my son looked up to when he was 4 and 5 years old. He looked up to those guys and came to the games and was always playing with those guys. Now here we go, 13 years later from ’07. Austin is my son’s head coach, which is really just a great experience,” Spear said.
Similarly, Colby said Spear long has been a role model for him.
“Coach Spear has served as a role model for me since the first time I met him as a young athlete. When Coach Spear moved to be closer to his family just before my senior football season, his impact was greatly missed by me and at Kokomo. Jason is an outstanding football coach; but beyond that, he is one of the nicest people I know. Having Coach Spear on my staff is a blessing for everyone, and now being able to coach his son, Shayne, is an unbelievable opportunity,” Colby said.
Spear came to Kokomo as a teacher for Central Middle School, where he worked from 2001 to 2010. After leaving the City of Firsts, he worked at Carmel High School for three years before going to Lawrence Central High School for five years. He returned to Kokomo High School as vice principal nearly three years ago and joined the football program once again as an assistant coach.
Prior to his time in Kokomo, Spear graduated from Logansport High School in 1996 after moving to Indiana from Los Angeles, Calif. As a senior, he led the state in rushing during regular season with 1,645 yards, setting a school record for the Berries for single game, season, and career. Following high school, he attended Indiana University on a football scholarship under Head Coaches Bill Mallory and Cam Cameron. During his sophomore season (1997) at IU, Spear set the single-game school record for most receptions with 16 (147 yards) against Big-Ten rival Purdue University.
Spear played semi-pro football for the Kokomo Mustangs for nearly 10 years following his time at IU. However, he said his top priority was teaching and helping students after receiving help from great teachers and counselors himself when he was in school.
“My first focus was to be able to teach … (I) had the greatest experience of my life with great people along the way that helped me out … (It) was just a great opportunity for me to be able to get in the classroom, teach, build my philosophy on teaching, and try to help kids. That was my whole goal … We want to help make sure kids are doing something at finding their niche and finding their place and getting their confidence through extracurriculars and things like that no matter what the extracurricular is,” Spear said.
Practices began at the Wildkat field last month. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, practices have been adjusted so athletes and staff could remain safe while preparing for the upcoming fall season. With faculty and staff members regularly cleaning and providing necessary equipment for the team, Spear said he was glad to be a part of a positive environment.
“We’ve got a lot of things going on that are good and positive … So I’m very proud to be here in Kokomo,” Spear said. “I know with the state of all the things we’re going through globally, but we’re still here, and we’re still doing football. We are blessed here.”