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Inside the Headset with the AFCA

Jul 9, 2020

This week on Inside the Headset, we are featuring University of Illinois Director of High School Relations, Ashton Washington. Coach A shares her experience working in the XFL, discusses making football history as the first African American female staff member at Illinois, and highlights the significance of building personal connections.

Ashton Washington was hired as the Illinois football team's Director of High School Relations in 2020. Washington joined the Illini after serving as a business and game day operations specialist for the XFL's Houston Roughnecks, where she helped manage business operations, logistics, facility operations, and game day operations. She also served as the business team's primary liaison to the Director of Football Operations to communicate and coordinate necessary logistics.

The Houston, Texas, native started her career in football as the Director of Operations/Recruiting for The Old Coach, a media outlet dedication to statewide coverage of Texas high school football. Washington was the head of social media for the company, helping to build a strong reputation with parents, coaches, and student-athletes across the state of Texas.

Washington graduated from Huston-Tillotson University with a bachelor's degree in mass communication in 2019.

  • [0:34] Start of interview
  • [0:46] Building connections
  • [2:43] The XFL experience
  • [7:04] Innovative recruiting
  • [8:11] Adjusting to a new role
  • [9:45] Making coaching history
  • [11:00] Navigating a job transition
  • [13:52] Authentically changing in-state recruiting
  • [15:17] Recruiting methods during a pandemic
  • [16:50] Overcoming new obstacles