Jon Blank named Pam Pack football coach

Published 6:58 pm Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Jon Blank will be the next head football coach of the Washington Pam Pack. The decision was finalized and announced at Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting.

Blank has been part of the program since 2002 when he served as a junior varsity offensive line coach. He eventually climbed the ranks to become the varsity offensive line and special teams coach, then defensive coordinator in 2005. He also assumed the role of athletic director in April 2015.

“It’s something I have wanted for a while,” Blank said. “I have interviewed at other places before to see if I could get my foot in the door as a head coach. I think everyone that’s been here knows that that’s what I’ve wanted to do. I’m really excited about it.”

One of the major focal points during the interviewing process was offseason work. Once Washington’s season ended and Sport Sawyer resigned as head coach, Blank — and the rest of the remaining staff — had a lot to do with making sure the returning players got right to working toward next season.

“I am 100 percent behind him,” Washington principal Michael Swinson said. “… One of the questions we asked all the candidates was what is your offseason like? What he had laid out — not just what he had done this year — was one of the determining factors.”

Blank added, “Offseason work is one of the most critical things a program can do. I think a lot of people don’t realize all of the work that goes into an offseason to be successful in football. … Our coaching staff actually got together, and we came up with the plan. … We knew we had to start immediately because, when you’re 3-8, some things are not right.”

Other interview topics that came up were vision for the program and how the football team will interact with the community.

“I think we have some opportunities with coach (Sport) Sawyer’s (physical education) position to bring in somebody now, but I hope all the coaches we presently have on staff will stay,” Blank said. “We’ve all talked and I’m thrilled with all the coaches we have. They’ve busted their butts this offseason, and they don’t get paid in the offseason.”

Blank spent the last 11 years running the Pam Pack’s defense. He may use that position opening at Washington to pursue an offensive coordinator.

“We want to look at, obviously, the offensive coordinator possibilities and what’s going to happen with that position,” he said. “I think we’ll see some changes, schematically, on offense.”

There’s time for Blank to round out his staff and decide how he wants his team to run. For now, though, he’s soaking in achieving what’s been a dream for years now.

“This is what I’ve wanted,” he said. “I told Mr. Swinson in the interview that, for a while, I wanted to be a football coach. For a while, I wanted to be a head football coach, but a few years ago, I decided that I wanted to be a football coach at Washington and I wanted to be a head football coach at Washington.

“… I would like to thank coach Sawyer for helping me get into this position. Working with him over the years has taught me a lot about managing a team, the x’s and o’s, discipline, accountability and all the things that we have to have in a program. … I also want to thank our administration and Mr. Swinson for giving me the opportunity. I know there were some excellent candidates that applied for this job.”