Sports

Mum's the word about Beamer football firing

By CASEY OLSON

The Mirror

Jeff Housman wants to coach football again. It just won’t be at Todd Beamer High School.

Housman was notified last Friday by second-year Beamer principal Josh Garcia and athletic director Jerry Peterson that his contract would not be renewed before next year’s football season.

“I had no idea,” Housman said. “The underlying reason they told me was the program was not going in the right direction. I really don’t know the reasons. I just know what I’ve been told.”

According to Mark Davidson, Federal Way school district assistant superintendent, the issue is a private, personnel matter and the district is unwilling to release the reasons for not renewing Housman’s contract.

“There was an evaluation,” Davidson said. “The evaluation was done by Jerry Peterson and Josh Garcia and they made a decision not to offer the coach a contract for next year. We clearly believe that’s the prerogative of the principal to do that.”

Housman’s firing came just two weeks after the Todd Beamer football team ended its season 1-9 with a 34-20 loss to Kent-Meridian. During Housman’s three years at the helm of the Titan program, Beamer was a combined 5-23. A record that, on the surface, looks bad. But when it’s compared to the other new program in the South Puget Sound League South Division — Emerald Ridge — it’s actually more impressive. During Emerald Ridge’s first three years of existence, the Jaguars put together a 1-24 combined record from 2001 to ‘03.

“After three years it was in the best interest of the school for us to go in a different direction,” Garcia said. “This issue wasn’t about liking or disliking. It was a difficult decision that I feel is in the best interest of all students.”

“I can say this and I want to be crystal clear on this issue,” Davidson said. “Wins and losses were not an issue (with Housman’s firing). If that’s the problem we have, there would be a lot more than this.”

Current football players, parents and students voiced their opinions regarding the issue at the district’s School Board meeting Tuesday night. About 30 to 40 people showed up on the behalf of Housman and several students and parents spoke during meeting. Supporters have already started circulating a petition to get Housman and his staff rehired.

“He was beloved by people,” Davidson said. “I would have to be an idiot not to see that and acknowledge it. But somebody can be beloved and not be doing the job that you are supposed to do.”

Housman appreciates the outpouring of support and says he will coach high school football again.

“I love coaching football and love coaching in general,” Housman said. “We’ll just see what comes up. But it’s tough. I will land on my feet. I’m a grown man and I’ll survive. I’m more worried about the kids. You only get to play high school football for four years.”

According to Garcia, the search for a new football coach will begin next month.

“We have a wonderful school and we will be able to attract a great coach,” he said. “We are open to candidates from all over.”

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565, sports@fedwaymirror.com

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