Thomas Jefferson High gains Tenino coach

mwochnick@theolympian.comMarch 13, 2014 

Jeff Zenisek talks about his coaching change as “sweet and sour.”

The sweet part is taking over a Class 4A football program that sits about 25 minutes from his Bonney Lake home, but the sour is leaving behind a Tenino program he helped build into a league champion in four years.

“It became such a good family that it was hard to say goodbye,” Zenisek said.

After four seasons at Class 1A Tenino, Zenisek has resigned and accepted the head-coaching position at Thomas Jefferson of Federal Way.

Zenisek led the Beavers to a 23-18 overall mark. Last fall, the Beavers won their first league title since 1986 and made the 1A state playoffs.

Between 17 years of coaching in high school and college, the league title was a first for Zenisek.

“And that was because of them (the players),” he said.

Zenisek’s coaching résumé also includes college head-coaching stints at Western State in Colorado and Central Washington. His 1995 Central Washington team won the NAIA Division II national championship with Lincoln High School graduate Jon Kitna under center.

Zenisek replaces Dean Peck, who stepped down after six seasons and led Jefferson to a 5-5 mark in 2013.

The Raiders lost to Skyline, 43-13, in the district crossover playoffs after finishing fifth in the 4A South Puget Sound League North Division.

“That’s a tough league, and that will be a challenge in itself,” Zenisek said. “Once you get out of that league, you have a chance to move on further and deeper into the state playoffs.”

Zenisek, also the dean of students and the athletic director at Tenino, will remain there through the end of the school year.

Meg Wochnick: 360-754-5473 mwochnick@theolympian.com @megwochnick

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