Wyatt Pertuset, who made history in 2018 by becoming the first openly gay college football player to score a touchdown, is continuing his football career as an assistant coach for an Ohio high school team.
Pertuset returns to Elgin High School in Marion, Ohio, after a four-year career as a wide receiver and punter for Capital University in Ohio. He came out in 2017 and gained acclaim in 2018 after catching a touchdown pass for what is believed to be the first touchdown scored by a player who was publicly gay. His touchdown was featured on ESPN.
Pertuset, 22, is now a full-time assistant but will move to part time when he starts grad school at the University of Dayton in clinical mental health counseling. His career goal is to become a clinical psychologist with his own practice.
He told me that he is excited to be returning to Elgin, a small rural school, with its new football coach, Zack Winslow, “who made me want to really pursue a future with football in college.” He added that “it’ll be nice to get back to my roots and help small town kids love and get ready for the game.” Pertuset attended Elgin before finishing high school at North Union High School in Richwood, Ohio, about 15 miles away.
Pertuset is a rarity in the football coaching ranks in that he is starting by being totally out since being authentic is important to him.
“It really means a lot to me to be able to coach as who I am because it allows me to really develop these kids to be the best players that they can be,” he said. “I love the fact that I get to go back to a small school that is primarily white and where they don’t get much exposure to diversity.
“This will allow me to let the players know that there are so many people from so many backgrounds that love the same sport they are playing and to hopefully open up their minds to think for themselves and create their own outlook on life rather than what they have been told to think.”