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Lincoln alum Jon Kitna expected to be new Abes football coach

Post by Doug Pacey / The News Tribune on Jan. 23, 2012 at 6:25 pm with 9 Comments »
January 23, 2012 10:51 pm
Jon Kitna played the first four seasons of a 15-year NFL career with the Seattle Seahawks.

Lincoln High alum Jon Kitna returned to his alma mater on Monday, starting a part-time teaching position.

Could the 15-year NFL quarterback fill the Abes’ head football coach vacancy, too?

“Nothing is set in stone,” a source said, “but you can connect the dots.”

One thing’s for sure: no announcement will come before Wednesday. That’s when the football coaching position closes.

Lincoln athletic director Char Davenport confirmed Kitna had applied for the coaching job and that she was not aware of any other applicants.

Davenport said in-building applicants will be given priority for the position and interviews will begin on Thursday.

“I know he wants to coach,” she said, “and he’ll probably be someone to reckon with if there are other applicants.”

Kitna, who retired from the NFL earlier this month, has been open about his desire to teach and guide a high school football program.

“My wife and I always felt like these years in the NFL have prepared us for what our real calling in life is going to be as teachers and running a high school football program,” Kitna told The News Tribune in December. “I don’t think there’s anything that has changed from that. God has used my time in the NFL to train me to be ready to train young men to be authentic, real leaders, and to have a positive impact on society. And I want to use the avenue of football to do that. So I am very clear, and my wife is very clear in our calling.”

Kitna did not return a call seeking comment.

On Monday, Lincoln principal Pat Erwin showed Kitna around campus and introduced him to colleagues and students. Kitna, who received a degree in Math Education at Central Washington University, is teaching math at Lincoln.

Former football coach Mike Merrill resigned after the 2011 season and will assume athletic director duties in February.

A three-sport athlete at Lincoln – he played football, basketball and baseball – Kitna went on to lead CWU to the NAIA national title in 1995. Kitna spent the 1996 NFL season on the Seattle Seahawks’ practice squad and played for the Barcelona Dragons of the now-defunct World Football League in 1997, leading the team to the WFL title. He made the Seahawks in 1997 and played four seasons with the team. In his first season as a full-time starter, he guided the Seahawks to the AFC West title in 1999, throwing for 3,346 yards and 23 touchdowns.

Seattle released Kitna after the 2000 season and he had stints at Cincinnati, Detroit and Dallas. In 15 seasons, Kitna, 39, played in 141 games and started 124, passing for 29,745 yards and 169 touchdowns.

Leave a comment Comments → 9
  1. I get it, its Jon Kitna, he will be a great asset to the football program at Lincoln but I think it is ridiculous that he automatically gets a teaching job when there are tons of teachers out there trying to get job day after day and a guy that doesn’t need the money and didn’t even have to try for the job gets it. He is taking a career away from someone, I get that he has to have a life after football but he got the teaching job because of his name. If he wants to coach then fine but leave the teaching job to someone who deserves/needs it, someone who I assume has been searching for a long time, not because they aren’t fully qualified but because there just aren’t enough teaching jobs out there.

  2. HistoryFan says:

    Whatever position he is assigned to, Jon will be a positive and ethical influence at Lincoln. We are proud of you Jon and welcome home.

  3. @Bosox44, I’m sure the priority at Lincoln is to get Kitna hired as the football coach. I’m not sure what the “rules” are in the district, but it could be that in order to coach, one must also be employed as a teacher at the school. Thus, the need to find Kitna a teaching position in order to accomplish their apparent top priority of hiring a football coach.

  4. ijustwannasay says:

    Finding a teaching job midyear, late winter, is pretty uncommon. Having one come available by vacancy would be a lot easier to imagine, yet a part-time math job came out of nowhere?

    one more math department being dragged down by a coach who has no interest other than teaching young men football (Lincoln apparently doesn’t allow girls to play).

    The “math job” is a canard to get him a shoe-in. What’s that teach us about responsibility and leadership?

    But don’t worry because it was God’s divine use of the holy St Jon that will make him especially gifted as teacher. Not volunteering as a teaching assistant, not preparation in HS classrooms, not an internship, but God’s use of him as a professional quarterback. Okay then.

  5. WashingtonProud says:

    From my 20+ year experience with high schools in Washington, coaches and band directors are most often hired through questionable circumstances because both groups run in very tight circles and tend to look out for their own.

    Since many search committees involve one or more teachers in the content area, most hires are agreed upon before the first application hits the principal’s desk because of networking and trading inside information. The interview process involves bringing in the lowest quality candidates in the pool to make the eventual hire look as good as possible. It’s a rare situation when a coach or band director is hired by the application and interview processes running their course.

  6. @ Bosox44 – I understand that you feel he is “taking” a teaching position away from someone who may need the job but did you maybe consider that no one wanted to teach a “Part-Time” math position at Lincoln? He received a math education degree, meaning he could teach Anywhere he wanted so why would he not deserve it just because of his name? Also, you have no idea what he is being paid for the job and it may just be pennies to him but don’t discredit his passion!
    @ AMHSDad & ijustwannasay – 1st, inspiration and leadership. He is a ex pro-ball player, you don’t believe that has ANY influence on a young persons mind? I have lived in Tacoma for 32 years and I know how rough Lincoln can be. Jon being there can change the futures of many individuals you may never cared about even gradutaing high school. Every teacher wants their students to achieve greatness but how many teachers actually make such a powerful impact to make them want to succeed? His presence alone can have that impact.
    Also, mocking his faith and beliefs is very nieve and childish.
    I commend Jon Kitna for wanting to return to his home town and make a difference. Most ex pro athletes would try to still make it in the lime light, he is not. Where he could possibly make millions he chose not too.
    I hope everything works out the way should and I hope he can change Lincoln for the better. Hope to see you soon Kitna your doing a great thing!!!!

  7. TruthMonster says:

    There are quite a few comments here that belong in the “hater” category.

    It’s pretty hard to find a negative in this story. Lincoln gets a part-time math teacher (high school math teachers are actually hard to find) with experience at the school. Kitna has supplemental income and a math degree, which makes him perfect for a part-time math teacher position. Most applicants with math degrees would make more money in the private sector, which is why a district has a hard time finding good full-time math teachers, much less part-time.

    Also, don’t discount the value having a male role model (by all accounts he’s a great guy) that’s a teacher/coach at a school like Lincoln. LHS also gets a coach with deep pockets and contacts to help get a booster club, etc. going. Having Kitna at the school will positively effect the whole athletic department.

    There are so many positives to this story that you really have to reach for negatives. I can’t believe that Bosox44’s comment was reposted on Yahoo as if there are two sides to this story.

  8. ijustwannasay says:

    JSMurph:

    I’m not mocking Jon’s faith: I’m mocking the arrogance one must have to assume they understand God’s will, I’m mocking his gender specific focus, and finally, I’m mocking those who project their own desire to have a NFL quarterback as HS coach, and propagate it as if this will turn kids around and direct them into leadership roles –that’s purely political fluff. There isn’t any precedence to indicate kids in a “rough” environment are wowed by authority or NFL just because you are.

    Coaches influence only the football team and the supporters of the football team and/or those drawn to football.

    There’s no evidence professional football players make a better impact in teaching or surrounding social stability: but it sure sells quick tickets and quick praise.

    And frankly, ex-NFL players coaching at the HS level is very trendy these days (especially if their kid just turned of age).

  9. redstepchild says:

    Jon will be an EXCELLENT teacher. He knows how important the classroom is for athletes. He’s probably the most perfect choice because ALL the kids will respect him and see him as a role model of what can come from Lincoln.

    We gotta give these kids some role models to say “Hey, I wanna be like him”. All the kids should aspire to go out, do great things, and then come back and lead the next generation.

    I think my son needs to move back to Wa and play for Jon for his Sr year.

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