The countdown to Aug. 21 is already in full force for the Mercer Island football squad.
Islanders head football coach Ed Slezinger, who will be in his third season leading the program this fall, can’t wait for the 2019 season to officially kick off with its first practice. The Islanders have compiled an overall record of 13-7 in Slezinger’s first two seasons on the sidelines.
“The biggest challenge for us is that we’re going to be young and we’re going to be light. A lot of the kids that we have coming up for the next two or three years are undersized. It is going to be a challenge. We’re going to have to accommodate the talent that we have with what we are trying to do with our scheme. Our coaching staff is prepared for it,” Slezinger said.
Slezinger is impressed with the progress of his program going into his third season.
“By the time your freshman class as a new head coach becomes your senior class (which will happen in the 2020 season), that is usually about the time you will see the full engagement in what your program looks like and how well it’s assimilated. I don’t know that I would say we are 100 percent there yet, but I feel like we’re on the cusp of having everything where we are more operational and less instructional,” Slezinger explained.
The Islanders will by led by senior signal caller Clay Dippold on the gridiron this fall. It will be the second consecutive season Dippold is the starting quarterback for Mercer Island.
“He had a good season for us last year. We should see him come into his own as a senior. He is drawing attention athletically and academically (from colleges). I would love to see him finish and create his own opportunities for having the kind of senior season I believe he can,” Slezinger said of the field general.
Recently the Mercer Island Reporter had an opportunity to ask Slezinger questions about his life away from the football field.
Mercer Island Reporter: What is your favorite restaurant on Mercer Island?
Ed Slezinger: I love the Pon Proem Thai Restaurant. It is a pretty good spot.
MIR: What is your dream vacation spot?
ES: I would probably say La Jolla, California. There is so much to do. You can go surfing, you can go be a tourist or you can chill out on the cove. There are a lot of great food places with a variety of food types. It is just a good place to be. Obviously the sun and the beaches are fabulous.
MIR: What is your favorite movie of all time?
ES: Honestly, I couldn’t even pin one. I like so many genres of movies. It is really more of a flavor of the day. I like movies like “Gladiator” but I also like movies like “My Fair Lady.” My music tastes are about the same as well. I’m all over the place.
MIR: What is your biggest pet peeve?
ES: The words, “I can’t.” That is my all-time pet peeve.
MIR: If you could pick one person to go to dinner with, who would it be?
ES: I’m going to go with the first person that came to mind, that is my grandmother Myrtle. She passed away in her late 90s. She was born in Germany and grew up in the United States. She was my life historian and story teller. She lived through a lot. Pick an event in the last 97 years and this woman had some sort of experience with it. She was such a great story teller. I just loved spending time with her.