MADISON, Wis. - Onalaska football coach Tom Yashinsky spent the weekend in Madison with Russell Wilson, Montee Ball, Jim Leonhard, Barry Alvarez, and Gary Andersen, among others.
Thanks to the recommendation of a friend, he was one of about 15 Wisconsin high school football coaches assisting with the Russell Wilson Passing Academy.
"It was cool just to be asked," Yashinsky said. "I talked to my wife and she said you can't pass this up. You don't get these opportunities very often."
Kids ages 9-17 could enroll in the camp, many of whom were underprivileged.
"The NFL guys, the Badgers guys, they treated those kids awesome and they were great role models for them," Yashinsky said, who worked mostly with the wide receivers. "The kids just loved it."
Since leading Wisconsin to the 2012 Rose Bowl, Wilson was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks. He was named Rookie of the Year and tied a rookie record for most touch down passes in a season. It appears, however, his personality hasn't changed.
"If I can change one of those kids lives, inspire them, one of those kids, that makes the difference," Wilson said.
Madison is one of five stops Wilson is taking his camp. He played only one year at Wisconsin, but said he will always have fond memories.20780924
"It's a great school, great coaching staff, great players, it's a family. Just having a coaching staff like this, at University of Wisconsin, is really something special."
Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks travel to Lambeau Field for a preseason game on August 23rd. As much as he's beloved in Madison, after last year's "Hail Mary," he said he's not sure how he'll be received in Green Bay.
"I'm trying to figure out whether they'll boo me because of last year's game or they'll cheer me on because of Wisconsin."
Because of this weekend, Tom Yashinsky is likely to cheer him on. Yashinsky said he learned a few lessons to apply to his Hilltoppers squad in the fall.
"There was a lot from Russell about preparation, how to use your time," Yashinsky said. "And sometimes you have to give something up to gain something."