Sports

Zatkovich will be back on the sidelines at Beamer

By CASEY OLSON

The Mirror

The Todd Beamer Titan football program will have a true coaching legend walking the sidelines next season. Dick Zatkovich was hired Friday to take over a team that has won just five games in three years of existence.

“It’s going to be an interesting, fun challenge,” Zatkovich said. “It’s not going to be easy. It’s going to take a lot of hard work.”

But taking over a struggling program is nothing new to the 60-year-old Zatkovich. He did it at Lakes and Lincoln high schools during his previous two head coaching jobs.

Zatkovich spent 16 years at Lakes before retiring in 1999. The Lancers made the postseason in nine of his final 11 seasons and he was named the league’s coach of the year five times. He left the Lakewood school with a 123-43 record and won the Class 3A state championship in 1997, led by current Jacksonville Jaguar wide receiver Reggie Williams.

He came out of retirement in 2000 to take over a struggling Lincoln team. The Abes finished 4-5 in his first season before rattling off 29 wins in the next four seasons and reaching the Class 4A quarterfinals in 2003.

“Dick has a proven track record and had a lot of success as a high school football coach in our area,” said Beamer athletic director Jerry Peterson. “We are very excited about the success that he has had. He does a great job in getting kids out and bringing programs around. We feel very fortunate.”

Zatkovich resigned as the Lincoln coach last spring after differences surfaced with the school’s administration. He worked during the fall as a color commentator on KLAY 1180-AM broadcasts of high school games from around the area.

“I was only going to get back into coaching if it was the right situation,” he said. “I wanted it to be 4A and the SPSL is a great league. (The Beamer staff) made me feel welcome and I am looking to resurrect the program. We are going to come in here and do what we did before. We need some help in some certain spots. But I think it will be OK.”

Zatkovich, who played linebacker at the University of Washington, applied for the position in mid-January, was interviewed Thursday at the school, then returned for a second interview Friday. Peterson called Zatkovich later that night and offered him the job, which he accepted. He will also teach physical education and weight training at Todd Beamer.

Zatkovich takes over the Beamer head coaching job from Jeff Housman, who was fired two weeks after the Titans ended their season with a 1-9 record. Housman was hired before Beamer opened its doors in September of 2003 after acting as the defensive coordinator and head baseball coach at Decatur High School. He guided the Titans to a 5-23 record. Beamer’s lone win this season came over Bethel.

According to Mark Davidson, Federal Way school district assistant superintendent, Housman’s November firing is a personnel matter and the district won’t release the reasons for not renewing his contract.

“There was an evaluation,” Davidson said at the time. “The evaluation was done by Jerry Peterson and (Beamer principal) 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.”

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

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