Photos by Hillary Ehlen and Nolan Schmidt
With the departure of wide receiver and cornerbacks coach Atif Austin in the summer, North Dakota State was left in unfamiliar territory. They were looking for a positions coach to fill the void left behind by the well-liked and respected Austin, who is now with the New England Patriots. However, it seems that they have found their man at wide receivers coach in Jason Ray. Ray has Missouri Valley coaching experience and was a former wide receiver in his playing days.
This coaching staff has been together for so long and there is very little turnover. How do you feel you’re standing out here so far?
I’m being a student of the game. Having veteran coaches who have been here awhile makes the transition really easy.
One thing many fans knew Coach Austin for was his recruiting prowess in Florida. Is that an undertaking you are taking on? If so, are you confident in doing so?
Very confident in doing it. No matter where my location is, I’ve been successful at it. I will continue to go to Florida and bring quality kids in. We have such a good footprint already, where I am pretty much just another representative of the school.
What have you seen out of the receivers so far this season? Coming in after spring practice was difficult, I’m sure. But how have the guys looked to you?
I really like the senior presence in there. Those kids have a lot of playing under their belt, lots of experience. Having a good, strong senior group helps a lot, especially not having the chance to be at spring ball and jumping right into fall camp. Overall as a group, those kids want to be great and they want to learn. It’s never perfect, but I have been really pleased with the kids who want to be great. The commitment to the process has been really eye-opening for me.
University of Missouri (2003-2007)
- Wide receiver for the Tigers
- Cotton Bowl Winner 2007
- Independence Bowl Winner 2005
- Sun Bowl Berth 2006
- Independence Bowl Berth 2003
- Academic All-Big 12
- 2007 Team Captain (Big-12 North Champions)
- President of Missouri’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee
University of Wyoming (2009-2012)
- Running backs coach from 2009 until 2011
- Became wide receivers coach in 2012
- New Mexico Bowl Winner 2009
- New Mexico Bowl Berth 2011
Oklahoma State University (2013-2014)
- Assistant coach. Mentored wide receivers and return specialists
- Cotton Bowl Berth 2013
- Cactus Bowl Winner 2014
University of Northern Iowa (2015)
- Wide receivers coach
- Panthers had a 9-5 record
Missouri State University (2016-2017)
- Wide receivers coach
North Dakota State (2018-Present)
- Named wide receivers coach in June