The first time former Dallas Cowboys tight end and future Hall of Fame honoree Jason Witten retired from football, he went into a lucrative, high-visibility job as part of the Monday Night Football broadcast team. That rather infamously did not go so well. He came out of retirement, spent a year back with the Cowboys, signed for a very desultory season with the Las Vegas Raiders, and then retired again. This time he is opting to go into the coaching ranks. But rather than trying to vault right to the top of things, like he did with his broadcasting venture, he is starting on a much lower rung by taking the head coaching job at his children’s school, Liberty Christian High School in Argyle, a suburb of Dallas.
Liberty Christian School is excited to announce our new Head Football Coach Jason Witten. Jason, former Dallas Cowboy tight end and long-time Liberty parent will be joining the Liberty Christian coaching staff as Head Football Coach. It’s a great day to be a Warrior! pic.twitter.com/SPtdSqvxID— Liberty Christian (@LibertyArgyle) February 1, 2021
Before getting into the new job, just let me take a moment to remark what a great looking family that is.
Now, back to football. Many saw a move to coaching as the next step for Witten. His name was bandied about as a candidate for his alma mater, Tennessee, and a job on the Cowboys staff seemed a natural fit, possibly following the path Leon Lett has to work his way up to a more important position.
Instead, he is going to the most basic level, high school, in a system where the duties normally also include overseeing the junior high program. It is certainly easy to see how joining the faculty of his children’s school would be attractive, allowing him to be extremely involved in their activities.
While the Dallas area is a hotbed of high school powerhouses, that is not the case with Witten’s new team. They went 2-7 last year. The desire to improve that certainly makes hiring Witten logical. As a private school, they rely on a bit of recruiting to draw their students, including their football players. Having a very well-known and highly-respected former Cowboy at the helm will likely aid in attracting better talent from the rich pool around Dallas. A quick glance at their website shows that this is a well-funded private school with what appear to be good facilities, so Witten certainly has some of the tools he will need to try and build a successful team.
How long he will be there is an open question. This is likely just the first step for him, with both college and the pros possibly in his future. Success at this level will just make him more attractive, and he is very popular with both Tennessee donors and the Cowboys’ ownership.
In any case, he gets to come back to his home in the Dallas area while starting on what could well be a long career on the sidelines. We don’t know if he will be good as a coach, because clearly not all players make that transition successfully. But many have. Here is wishing him success, and maybe an eventual return to the Star.