Jon Kitna went from coaching at the high school level to coaching the quarterbacks for the Dallas Cowboys. Now, Kitna is heading back to the high school ranks.
The former NFL quarterback will be the next head coach at Burleson High School, Burleson ISD confirmed. Kitna was approved by the school board on Monday evening.
“Burleson High School was looking for a head coach and athletic coordinator to build not only a strong program, but also strong relationships among students and the community,” said BISD Superintendent Dr. Bret Jimerson in a statement. “I believe the committee got it right in selecting Coach Kitna to lead the program.”
Matt Stepp of Dave Campbell’s Texas Football was first to report the hire.
This is the first football head coaching hire for new Burleson ISD athletic director Kevin Ozee, who formerly served as the athletic director at Arlington ISD, Carroll ISD and Duncanville ISD.
“Coach Kitna brings a wealth of successful experience at multiple levels of football, and his grasp of coaching and leadership is exceptional," Ozee said in a statement. "The most important quality of Coach Kitna’s program is coaching the total student in all aspects of life. He has a unique way of modeling and teaching his players, and I believe this hire will take the BHS community to a whole new level.”
Kitna played 14 seasons in the NFL. He threw for 29,745 yards, 169 touchdowns and 165 interceptions while playing for the Seattle Seahawks, the Cincinnati Bengals, the Detroit Lions and the Cowboys.
Burleson will be Kitna’s fourth high school coaching job and second in north Texas. He’s had high school coaching jobs at Lincoln in Tacoma, Wash., Brophy Preparatory in Arizona and Waxahachie. He spent three seasons at Waxahachie, finishing with a record of 20-13. In 2017 he led Waxahachie back to the postseason for the first time since 2009. The team finished that season with an 8-5 record and a trip to the third round of the playoffs.
After the 2017 season, Kitna stepped down as Waxahachie’s head coach. He coached one season at Brophy Preparatory before former Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett hired him to be his quarterbacks coach. Kitna was not retained by new Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy.
“Football taught me lessons about character, integrity, and grit," Kitna said in a statement. “My goal is to develop athletes and set them on a path to success at the next level, whatever that may be.”
Garrett was one of many notable people to endorse Kitna’s hire in a press release from Burleson ISD.
“I cannot think of a better environment for a young man than to play high school football in a program run by Jon Kitna," Garrett said. "He brings out the best in those around him and has a significant impact on the players at whatever level he has coached. The impact he will have on his student-athletes will be felt for the rest of their lives.”
Former Waxahachie and TCU wide receiver Jalen Reagor -- a likely early-round pick in April’s NFL Draft -- TCU head coach Gary Patterson, NFL Hall of Fame linebacker Mike Singletary, Dallas Cowboys chief operating officer Stephen Jones, and former Allen and current Hawaii head coach Todd Graham also had high praise for Kitna.
Kitna’s son, Jalen, will be a senior in high school this coming year. Last year he transferred from Brophy Preparatory to Frisco Reedy. The three-star recruit, according to 247Sports, finished the season throwing for 1,554 yards, seven touchdowns and seven interceptions. He also ran for four touchdowns.
In a statement, Kitna said, "My wife Jennifer and sons Jalen and Jamison, and I are excited to become part of the Burleson community, and I look forward to establishing a leadership factory through the avenue of a top-flight football program.”
Now Kitna will take over at Burleson, which finished 6-4 a season ago.