Darren Tinnerstet, a longtime assistant at Capital High School, will be its next head football coach. Following a turbulent summer for the program, Tinnerstet, 38, took over Tuesday on an interim basis.
He replaces John Johnson, who abruptly resigned in July after 10 years with the program. Johnson said he was asked to resign following allegations of a “lack of supervision of players” at a football camp a year prior.
“It was pretty sudden,” Tinnerstet said of Johnson’s departure. “But, with it being so late (in the summer), I really felt a responsibility to step up for the kids. ... They needed some continuity, and someone they knew, and who knew them.”
Tinnerstet’s hire comes a week before local high schools begin practice Aug. 16. Capital hosts River Ridge in its season opener Sept. 1.
Because of the rapid transition, Tinnerstet said his focus is solely on the 2017 season, and the program won’t worry about future changes at this juncture.
“As a program and staff, we’re going to be focused on this season,” he said. “I think that’s fair to these players and this community. We want to do the best we can this season, and evaluate everything else afterward.”
Tinnerstet has a long history with Capital’s program. He was the quarterback when Capital won its first Class 3A state title in 1996.
After playing baseball in college at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, he returned to Olympia in 2004, and started coaching under Capital legend Wayne Sortun.
He was a quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator at Capital until 2010, when he was hired as the head coach at Sehome. He led the Mariners to a 6-14 record in two seasons. The program was winless the season prior to his arrival.
Tinnerstet returned to Capital in 2012, and spent the past three seasons as Johnson’s offensive coordinator. He said, though the summer has been difficult, athletes have continued to prepare for the upcoming season.
“Even with all of the distractions going on, they’re just ready to play football,” Tinnerstet said.