SEATTLE — Kerry Joseph is returning to his NFL roots, taking a job as an offensive assistant coach with the Seattle Seahawks this past week after four years as an assistant coach at McNeese State University and Southeastern Louisiana.
The New Iberia native and former NISH and McNeese quarterback was a safety for the Seahawks for four seasons before moving on to a standout career as a quarterback in the Canadian Football League.
“It’s great to come back here to the Northwest,” Joseph said Saturday. “It’s been 19 years for me, and I just think this is a great opportunity for my family, for me, for my coaching career, and just the opportunity to be a part of a great staff and just to be able to serve in any kind of way that I need to, to help people around me to be better.”
A former teammate and good friend who works with the Seahawks called Joseph and asked if he would be interested in the position that was opening up in Seattle, he said.
“I was grateful for the opportunity out here at Southeastern, but it was something I was interested in, getting into the NFL,” Joseph said. “I feel real good about (joining the Seahawks). They’ve been doing a great job over here. It’s been a great organization. Coach (Pete) Carroll and his staff, I’ve been here for one week, but just the energy that they bring, even though a lot of the stuff that we’re doing right now is still virtual, you can see the passion they have and the respect they have for each other, the closeness they have as a coaching staff and you see when you watch them on TV why they’re so successful. The players love playing for them.”
After a virtual interview process because of the COVID-19 pandemic, he was hired for the job. He’ll assist Seahawks running backs coach Chad Morton. His duties will include breaking down film, script building, learning the offense and “doing all the necessary work to help the coach that are coaching positions, to help them be prepared.”
Joseph was a quarterback throughout high school and college and remains McNeese’s all-time career leader in touchdown passes, and is second in career passing yards and total offense. A first-team All-Southland Conference player in 1995, and was the Louisiana and SLC Player of the Year that year after leading the Cowboys to an 11-0 regular season and a Division I-AA semifinal appearance.
After trying out with the Cincinnati Bengals, he played NFL Europe football as a quarterback for the London Monarchs (1997) and safety for the Rhein Fire in 1998, winning a World Bowl Championship that year. Joseph joined the Seahawks as a safety from 1998-2001.
He then moved to the CFL, playing for the Ottawa Renegades, Saskatchewan Roughriders, Toronto Argonauts and Edmonton Eskimos before finishing his playing career in 2014 with Saskatchewan. In Ottawa, he became one of only four QBs in CFL history with 4,000 yards passing and 1,000 yards rushing in the same season in 2005. Joseph earned the league’s Most Outstanding Player Award in 2007 after leading Saskatchewan to the Grey Cup championship.
Playing multiple positions — he also signed with the Washington Redskins as a running back in 1997 — has helped him to learn to the game from a variety of viewpoints, Joseph said.
“It has helped me to be in different rooms,” Joseph said. “You know, my first four years of (coaching) college football, I coached three different positions, so it definitely gave me a different look on things and I was able to see the game from different angles.
“Even just playing the games, playing multiple positions, that helped me as a player, and now as a coach it’s helped me develop the mindset of understanding the game from a coaching side and then being able to teach it.”
Joseph envisions himself being a coordinator in the future, so he’s both willing to learn about different positions and eager to do so.
“To be a coordinator you have to have an understanding of the offense in total, and you have to be well-rounded in different positions,” he said. “Playing different positions, you have to learn an offensive scheme, as a player, from multiple positions. It’s helping me now as a coach, just to be able to study the different rooms and to find out how we’re blocking this, or how we’re running these routes. It definitely has helped me as far as my learning curve.”
Joseph said he talked with wife Courtney about the opportunity and she supported the idea.
“She’s still back at home right now,” he said. “We have to get her moved up here. She’s going to come a little bit later. She understands the opportunity that’s there ahead of us. She was all in — like she said, she said she was all in from Day 1. Once she gave me the blessing, after we talked about it, she knew this is something I wanted to do. She’s the type of person who’s willing to adjust.”
Joseph has been inducted into the New Iberia Senior High School Athletics Hall of Fame, the McNeese Sports Hall of Fame and the Southland Conference Hall of Honor,
“I’m glad God opened this door for me, and I want to take full advantage of it,” Joseph said. “I always say I’m representing not only myself, but the city of New Iberia, McNeese, the city of Lake Charles. I’m always going to be indebted to Lance Guidry because he got me started with my first coaching job at McNeese. He got me started on this path. It’s a great opportunity. The Bible says ‘to whom much is given, much is required,’ so I’m here, but I’ve got a lot of work to do and a lot of responsibilities to fulfill.”