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High School Sports Blog

The latest news and analysis on high-school sports around the Seattle area

January 8, 2013 at 4:00 PM

Updated: Archbishop Murphy hires former UW linebacker Jerry Jensen as football coach

Archbishop Murphy has hired Jerry Jensen, a former All-Pac-10 linebacker at UW, as the school’s new football coach.

Jensen, a fifth-round pick in the 1998 NFL draft for the Carolina Panthers, was an all-state linebacker at Cascade (Everett) under legendary coach Terry Ennis, who then coached at Archbishop Murphy and for whom the school’s stadium is named after.

After seeing Archbishop Murphy cycle through three coaches in the last two years, Jensen was drawn to the opportunity of getting the Wildcats back on track.

“That was kind of a driving force,” Jensen said. “I’m really good friends with the Ennis family, and I saw Coach build that from the bottom up. I want to see that school do good. To see what’s happened, we’re going to start doing things the right way and rebuild and continue the success that they’ve had.”

Jensen spent three years as the school’s defensive coordinator from 2007-09. He then stepped away from coaching to build a home for his family; he spent last year as a volunteer assistant at Mount Vernon.

Along with playing under Ennis, Jensen was also coached by Don James, Jim Lambright and Dom Capers — all big draws for Archbishop Murphy athletic director Jerry Zander.

“If you talk to anyone who knows him, his strong character keeps coming up,” Zander said. “He carries himself the way you would hope an adult teaching young men would act. And that’s also a big part of it.”

The hiring caps what has been a hectic and, at times, turbulent two years for the Archbishop Murphy football program.

The school hired Bill Marsh before this season to replace former coach Dave Ward. Ward had gone 47-6 in four seasons, including state runner-up finishes the last two years. But the school decided to make drastic changes in the athletic department before the 2012 season.

Archbishop Murphy fired former athletic director Rick Stubrud and placed Ward and one of his assistants, Jeff Schmidt, on administrative leave. Eventually, Archbishop Murphy’s new athletic director, Jerry Zander, decided not to retain Ward, who is now the head coach at Sedro-Woolley.

Marsh then abruptly resigned four games into the 2012 season. Marsh hasn’t publicly commented on his resignation since it was announced at the end of September.

Then, just one day after Archbishop Murphy announced assistant Mike Allison as the team’s interim coach, the Everett Herald released a report stating that Allison engaged in inappropriate conduct with a female student while working at a high school in Oregon.

The report stated that Allison surrendered his teaching license in Oregon after an investigation found he had engaged in inappropriate conduct with a female student. Allison, who was one of the finalists for the head coaching position along with Marsh, was quickly placed on administrative leave.

Archbishop Murphy went 8-3 this season before losing to Tumwater in the playoffs.

“Quite honestly, some of those of those kids, their two years at Murphy are probably not the snapshot they had envisioned,” said Jensen, who met with his team on Tuesday. “I’m going to have to work to gain their trust, and rightfully so. I’m going to prove to these kids that I’m going to be here for the long term, and we’re going to build something.”

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