Former King’s High standout Masaki Matsumoto has left Los Angeles’ Bernstein High to take the vacant head football coaching position at Lincoln High in Tacoma.
The Los Angeles Times posted a short story on the announcement on Saturday morning. The Times reported that Matsumoto told his team on Friday that he was leaving after three years at Bernstein, including the 2013 season in which he was named coach of the year by the L.A. Times.
“He really wanted to get home,” King’s coach Jim Shapiro said. “I am really excited for Masaki. But also, I am really excited for football in the state of Washington.”
Matsumoto takes over for the departed Jon Kitna, who left Lincoln – his alma mater – after three seasons to take a job in Texas.
Matsumoto compiled a 29-8 overall record at Bernstein, a school that had gone a combined 4-36 since it opened in 2008 before he arrived in 2012.
Shapiro said Matsumoto spoke with Kitna before taking the Lincoln job. Matsumoto, who graduated from King’s in 2002, went on to Trinity International in Chicago where he played football for former Pacific Lutheran player John Lambert.
Lambert, Shapiro and Lambert’s former assistant Scotty Kessler all played at PLU for legendary coach Frosty Westering. Kessler, now a pastor at Life Center in Tacoma, also got involved in getting Matsumoto back to Washington from L.A.
“Masaki’s had Frostyisms from high school to college, and now he’s taking it to the next level,” Shapiro said.
Matsumoto made national headlines a year ago when he sent home a note with his players, addressed to those players’ parents, asking the parents to write letters back to their kids about why they loved them.