Haling from the wide-open spaces in Nevada, Capital High school’s new football coach plans to reenergize the once-proud Cougars football program next season.
John David (J.D.) Johnson is Capital’s new coach, unanimously approved by the Olympia School District school board Monday night.
Johnson also will teach in the Olympia School District, and comes from Shadow Ridge High in Las Vegas, where he accumulated a 32-12 record over four seasons including three playoff appearances.
Johnson is married with two children, and said he’s been looking to move north for a better place to raise his family. Johnson also has an older brother who lives in the area.
"We’re excited," he said. "This is an opportunity that doesn’t come around very often because people tend to stay on for 20 to 30 years at a job here.
"But I have been poking around for a couple years and this is an opportunity that came open, and I’m excited to be able to jump on it."
Johnson grew up and played football in Nevada, and went on to play football for two years at Eastern Arizona Junior College as a strong safety.
At Shadow Ridge, which opened in 2003, Johnson helped 21 of his players move on to play college football at different levels.
He hopes to build that level of consistency at Capital, both athletically and academically. Before last year’s 3-7 campaign, the Cougars had winning seasons and made the preliminary round of the playoffs the last 15 years.
Johnson, 35, replaces long-time Capital football coach Wayne Sortun. Sortun coached at Capital for 20 years, winning two state titles (1996 and 1998) during his tenure, and compiling a 138-74 career record.
"We would like to get back to the dome," Johnson said. "That’s where the key playoffs take place. We want to reestablish the history and make sure our kids understand that there is a responsibility to uphold that, and to take it seriously."
Capital High athletic director Mark Wells said he received 32 applicants for the position, whittling that number down to seven people who were interviewed for the job. Wells said Johnson was the unanimous choice by group of players and adults associated with the Capital football program who participated in the interviews.
"He was the best combination of having experience but still having the drive and the desire to do all the things you have to do as a head coach to keep things exciting," Wells said. "He has the energy of a young coach, yet he also has experience as a head coach."
Johnson said offensively his team will run the spread option, similar to the offense developed by Florida’s Urban Meyer. Defensively he’ll employ an aggressive, attacking defense using a 3-3 front.
"They are going to have to have the mindset to work hard, both in the weight room and speed drills to get it up a little bit," Johnson said. "What I have noticed in watching film is they are very tough, hard-nosed kids. If we can improve on that, we’ll always be able to be competitive."
Three coaching vacancies at Peninsula
Peninsula High athletic director Curtiss Hill will be hard at work this spring filling three coaching vacancies for successful Seahawks’ program.
The main one is the head boys basketball coaching position, Former coach Tim Winter has been selected to take over as principal at Peninsula High, leaving his position vacant. Peninsula wrestling coach Chris Turner also stepped down to pursue his administrative credentials. And girls soccer coach Cris Ruffner will be leaving his post and plans to move to Arizona.
"Those are three great programs that I would think somebody would love to step into," Hall said. "You’re not taking over a suffering program. These are three that are at the peak of their game."
Hill said he accepting applications for the vacant positions now and hopes to have them filled this spring. …. Kent Meridian football coach John Jarman recently resigned his post to pursue other opportunities.