After Tevis Bartlett’s freshman season, his parents made a surprise trip to Washington for the spring football game.
Dave and Fawn Bartlett didn’t want to Tevis to see them, so they climbed high into the stadium. From there, they watched Bartlett interact with the young Husky fans in attendance. He was patient and kind, stopping to talk and interact and pose for pictures.
He was a natural, Dave said, and that wasn’t very surprising.
“He has been involved in coaching and mentoring younger kids all his life,” Dave said. “He’s really comfortable doing that.”
After that game, Dave suggested that since Tevis was so good with younger kids, he consider completing a teaching practicum at an elementary school. Tevis took the advice. He enjoyed working with kindergarten and first grade students, Dave said, but eventually decided he wanted to teach older students.
Tevis — an Education, Communities and Organizations major — plans to get certified in teaching so he can teach and coach after his football career ends. He also wants to get his master’s in administration so he could eventually work as an athletic director or principal.
Currently, he is completing a student internship at Nathan Hale High School in Seattle. He also helps coach junior varsity wrestling in the area. Now a senior linebacker for UW, Tevis was a four-time state champion in wrestling but decided to play football in college.
“I just want to give back,” Tevis said. “That’s the big thing. I had such a good relationship with my coaches growing up in high school. My dad and my mom were both educators and teachers.
“So, it runs deep, that kind of thought of giving back to the community. I want to have the same kind of impact on somebody else’s life that they had on my own.”
Both Dave and Fawn currently work at Cheyenne East in Wyoming, where Tevis went to high school. Dave is an assistant superintendent, while Fawn is an associate principal.
Growing up, the philosophy instilled in Tevis and his two brothers was ‘family first, then school, then sports.’ Tevis learned pretty quickly that if he didn’t get his homework done or his grades slipped, he wouldn’t be able to compete in athletics.
That was never a problem.
Doing well in school was almost instinctive, Tevis said, and it was something he embraced. He was named the top scholar-athlete in the state of Wyoming by the National Football Foundation in 2014. He finished his high school career with a 4.0 grade point average, which topped his class.
“He was a straight-A kid from elementary all the way through high school,” Dave said. “Senior year when you’re being recruited, it was pretty impressive to watch him balance the trips and sports and homework and all of that. He’s very driven.”
What makes Tevis so successful in the classroom has also contributed to his success on the football field, said his high school coach Chad Goff.
“He’s very smart and so he understood things,” Goff said. “He’s very easy to coach and he’s so athletic. You could tell him to do something and he’d just do it. He didn’t need 500 reps to get something done. He’d just perform.
“He was our quarterback and he was our quarterback on defense. He made sure we were in the right checks. Just a leader, great character, treated people with respect.”
Tevis has found success both on and off the field at UW. He was an Academic All-Pac-12 second team selection in 2016. In 2017, he earned honorable mention All-Pac-12 honors and was also named to the Academic All-Pac-12 first team.
So far this season, he’s recorded 16 tackles — including a season-high seven against Utah — a forced fumble and a pass breakup.
“That’s your dream,” Fawn said. “Your goal is that your kid will be successful. I guess was I’m really proud of is the fact that he’s willing to help people. He’s always listening, never letting anything go to his head. He’s a really humble person, even though he’s been so successful. He still has empathy for others.”
Tevis said he chose education as a career path because of the opportunity to impact a community in a positive way. That reasoning didn’t surprise Tevis’ parents or Goff.
Since he was 12, Tevis has been working with younger athletes in the wrestling room. As he got older, Tevis also helped with youth football and wrestling camps.
“My kids were a lot younger than him and they looked up to him,” Goff said. “He was always nice to them. He always took the time. He was never too good for anybody. He was always just very friendly with the little ones, just a positive-type person with them. My kids still ask about him to this day.”
Tevis is particularly interested in history. That comes from Dave, who Fawn said has a similar passion. Right now, he’s helping with senior-level U.S. government and Econ classes at Nathan Hale.
Because football takes up so much time, Tevis isn’t at the school as much as he’d like. His responsibilities with the Huskies usually end between 11:30 a.m. and noon. Trevis heads to Nathan Hale right after.
“He’s a really great mentor,” Dave said. “I think he understands that his success in athletics kind of opened doors to talk to kids about goal setting and you’re in control of your own destiny and work hard, that type of thing.”
Tevis didn’t always plan to go into education. He loved the show ‘Bar Rescue’ and considered going into business to try a similar path. But when he took Econ 201, he realized it wasn’t quite what he wanted to do. Even though he enjoyed history, those classes weren’t really hitting the mark either.
It wasn’t until he started taking education classes that something clicked.
“It just felt right,” he said. “I took an elementary math class and it’s trying to figure out all the ways you could teach division or multiplication or whatever it was. A way you could reach every kid in the class.
“Teaching presents that challenge: How d you describe this in Way A to this kid and Way B to this kid and Way C to this kid. That kind of just drew me to it.”