There was a definite New Mexico connection in tonight’s Super Bowl, one of the LA Rams’ coaches got his big break coaching at Highlands University in Las Vegas.

Two weeks ago in the NFC championship game, it was a fake punt that helped propel the Rams to victory. That daring play was cooked up by one of the best in the business, Ram’s Special Teams Coordinator John Fassel.

“Fass is one of the coolest, smoothest, chilliest dudes out there,’ Raymond Woods said.

Woods and Seth Morris are both Highlands University Grads. Both played football for Fassel during his two year run as the head coach in Las Vegas in 2003 and 2004 In those years, Fassel’s father was the head coach of the New York Giants.

“You know the big stir, especially as a player, is now we have someone in the room with eyes to the league,” Seth Morris said.

Coach Fassel was a big name in a small town but he never gave his players any big-time attitude

“Coach Fass, that’s how we knew him, was out there running the conditioning tests better than the college athletes,” Woods said. 

“At least for me there was no way on God’s green earth was I going to let coach beat me,” Morris said. 

Coach Fassel said his time at a university that’s not exactly on the college football map holds a special place in his heart.

“I was afforded the opportunity to do so much,” he said. “Not just coaching, but relationships, recruiting, budgeting, scheduling, driving buses.”

Coach Fassel said to this day he still talks to people from his time at New Mexico Highlands. “I love the people there and I’ll never forget it,” Fassel said.

He also had a message for the student-athletes attending New Mexico Highlands University. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a coach or a player,” he said. “You can make it to the Super Bowl.”