A few bumps in the road of first-year coaching were expected, but Lincoln High’s Jon Kitna did not expect the first real issue to come out of his own household.
The news was not favorable Thursday morning when Kitna learned that his oldest son, Jordan, lost his West Central District eligibility hearing, and cannot participate in varsity athletics at Lincoln for the 2012-13 season.
Jordan Kitna is a ninth grader at Lincoln, and was in line to be the school’s starting varsity quarterback for its season opener Sept. 1 at Bonney Lake.
“He took (the news) better than me,” Jon Kitna said after practice Friday. “It felt like I got punched in my throat.”
After retiring from a 15-year NFL career, Jon Kitna was hired in January to coach his alma mater’s football program at Lincoln, where he is also a math teacher.
Because Kitna’s family lives in Lakewood, and out of the Tacoma Public Schools’ district, in order for Jordan to play varsity athletics with the Abes, the Kitnas had to appeal for a waiver of what is commonly known as the “junior varsity” rule.
Out-of-district student transfers are required to sit out a year of varsity athletics at the high-school level, but would be eligible to play on the junior varsity.
Appeals of the JV rule are generally based on a unique set of circumstances.
A 12-person district eligibility committee, made up of athletic directors, heard the Kitna family’s hardship case Wednesday night in Fife – and denied the waiver appeal a day later.
When reached Friday, WCD eligibility chairman Tom Reardon declined comment on Kitna’s case, citing confidentiality reasons.
The Kitnas have filed paperwork for another appeal, this time at the state level with the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association. A hearing in Renton could come as soon as next week.