High School Sports

Thomas Jefferson football coach Jeff Zenisek steps down after 2 years

Staff photographer

Jeff Zenisek resigned Friday after two years as the football coach at Thomas Jefferson High School.

This comes after Zenisek coached the Raiders to their first outright league title in school history, finishing 7-3. They reached the district playoffs a year after going 3-7 and Zenisek earned The News Tribune’s All-Area football coach of the year.

He said he spoke to the team Friday morning.

“It was really hard today. A lot of tears,” Zenisek said. “I had a lot of tears. It’s hard. You’re like family and you have the kids believing.”

He didn’t want to release why he chose to step down, but said it wasn’t related to the boys basketball coach, former University of Washington player Jamaal Williams, resigning earlier this week after just two months in the position.

Zenisek coached at Orcas Island before becoming the defensive coordinator at Central Washington University, where he had played as an offensive lineman from 1980-81. Zenisek later became the head coach at CWU — with quarterback Jon Kitna, the former Seahawks quarterback and Lincoln High School alum/football coach — and won an NAIA national title in 1995.

Zenisek, who is from Wyoming, later became an assistant at Northern Iowa before taking over the head job at Western State Colorado University in 2001. He tehn returned to high school coaching and took over at Class 1A Tenino before heading to Class 4A Thomas Jefferson.

TJ Cotterill: 253-597-8677