When you have your sights set on working in the National Football League, nothing is better than landing a job with your home-state franchise. For a small fraternity of CWU alumni, that dream has become a reality.
All five Wildcat graduates have worked hard to prove themselves in the NFL, and they now hold prominent roles within the Seattle Seahawks organization.
The head athletic trainer for the Seahawks, David Stricklin (’03), began his NFL career in 2002 with the San Francisco 49ers as a summer intern while he was still a student trainer for several sports at Central.
“When I was a student trainer, we were pretty immersed in what we were doing,” Stricklin said. “My favorite memories are the relationships that were created with my fellow student athletic trainers. They played a major role in my development as a person and athletic trainer.”
Stricklin took a season-long position as an athletic training intern for the Seahawks in 2005, and then became a full-time assistant for baseball and football at Oregon State University. He returned to the Seahawks in 2010 as an assistant athletic trainer, ultimately becoming the head trainer in 2019.
Another Seahawks coach and CWU alum, Aaron Hineline (’05), was a running back for the Wildcats. After graduation, he was working as a graduate assistant when the Seahawks sent out a flyer to several schools in Washington.
CWU’s coaching staff passed along the message to Hineline, knowing that sharing the news would likely mean losing him to the Seahawks. As the Wildcat coaches expected, Hineline was hired within the pro personnel department, where he worked for the next four years.
When head coach Pete Carroll joined the Seahawks in 2010, a role opened up for Hineline in the college ranks, taking him and his family to Oklahoma, where he scouted college players across the country. It wasn’t long before he became the Seahawks’ director of college scouting, managing and overseeing all of the area scouts while also evaluating players.
Hineline is happy that he has spent his career with the Seahawks, saying, “We are all very fortunate to be working for our hometown team and recognize that Central was a big part of why we have the opportunity to be where we are.”
Hineline’s friend and teammate, Nolan Teasley (’07), also played running back for the Wildcats. The two stayed in touch after leaving Central, and Hineline noted that good timing and irony led him and Teasley to work together again.
“Nolan randomly texted me at a time that we were looking to bring another local guy into the organization, and I knew Nolan’s work habits and knew he was motivated for the right reasons,” Hineline said. “He has skyrocketed through the organization at this point, and it is well-deserved.”
After joining the Seahawks as an intern in 2013, Teasley quickly climbed the organizational ladder. He held several roles in the pro personnel department and most recently was promoted to assistant general manager earlier this year.
When asked what his new role looks like, Teasley said, “There is no typical day in the National Football League. It depends on the time of year and depends on the day of the week. In my role, I look over our processes and try to find ways to be more efficient and improve our roster to be a consistent, championship-caliber football team.”
In 2019, Teasley received a 4 Under 40 award from CWU, which recognizes individuals who excel in their industries or communities through their leadership roles and commitment to personal growth and community involvement.
“We recognize that Central was a big part of why we have the opportunity to be where we are.”
He and his 2007 teammates also were inducted into the CWU Hall of Fame that year.
“I look back on my time at Central fondly and have a ton of great memories,” Teasley said. “I met my wife and lifelong friends there. Revisiting campus and seeing all the things that they’ve done and are doing, I am proud of the direction it is going in and I’m excited to be involved moving forward.”
Another CWU Hall of Fame football player and the Wildcat with the longest tenure with the Seahawks is Kirk Parrish (’92), the team’s senior college scouting coordinator. Now in his 25th year with the team, Parrish maintains college prospect information, manages university relations, and serves as the club contact for the NFL Combine and college all-star games.
The most recent CWU alumni addition to the Seahawks coaching staff is Greg Olson (’86), who was also a student-athlete while earning his degree. He returned to Central’s coaching staff as the offensive coordinator from 1990-93, mentoring future Seahawk quarterback Jon Kitna.
Olson has enjoyed a long and successful career with eight NFL franchises. This year he had the opportunity to return to his home state as the Seahawks’ quarterbacks coach.
When you look at the growing list of CWU alumni who work for the Seahawks, they not only share a love for the game of football; they are also proud to call themselves Wildcats.
“I am very grateful for the experience I had as a student-athlete at CWU,” Olson said. “From the outstanding professors in the education department who taught me the importance of preparation and presentation, to the coaches who taught me the value of competition, I couldn’t have picked a better place to prepare me for my future.”