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Originally published Tuesday, January 8, 2013 at 8:11 PM

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Jerry Jensen named Archbishop Murphy football coach

Jerry Jensen, a former All-Pac-10 linebacker at Washington, has been named football coach at Archbishop Murphy of Everett.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Archbishop Murphy has hired Jerry Jensen, a former All-Pac-10 linebacker at Washington, as the school's new football coach.

Jensen, a fifth-round pick in the 1998 NFL draft by the Carolina Panthers, was an all-state linebacker at Cascade High of Everett under legendary coach Terry Ennis. Archbishop Murphy's stadium is named for Ennis, the school's first football coach, who died in 2007.

After seeing Archbishop Murphy cycle through three coaches in the last two years, Jensen was drawn to the opportunity to get the Wildcats back on track.

"That was kind of a driving force," said Jensen, 37. "I'm really good friends with the Ennis family, and I saw Coach build that from the bottom up. I want to see that school do good. To see what's happened, we're going to start doing things the right way and rebuild and continue the success that they've had."

Jensen was Murphy's defensive coordinator from 2007-09. He then stepped away from coaching to build a home for his family. Last year he was a volunteer assistant at Mount Vernon High School.

In addition to Ennis, Jensen has played for coaches Don James, Jim Lambright and Dom Capers.

"If you talk to anyone who knows him, his strong character keeps coming up," Archbishop Murphy athletic director Jerry Zander said of Jensen. "He carries himself the way you would hope an adult teaching young men would act. And that's also a big part of it."

The hiring caps a turbulent year for the Everett school's football program.

Bill Marsh was hired last spring to replace former coach Dave Ward, who had a 47-6 record in four seasons, including Class 2A state runner-up finishes his last two years. But the school decided to make drastic changes in the athletic department before the 2012 season.

Archbishop Murphy fired former AD Rick Stubrud and placed Ward and assistant coach Jeff Schmidt on administrative leave. Zander, the new AD, then decided not to retain Ward, who is now head coach at Sedro-Woolley.

Marsh then abruptly resigned four games into the 2012 season. Marsh hasn't publicly commented on his resignation.

In late September, one day after Archbishop Murphy announced that assistant Mike Allison would be the team's interim coach, The Herald of Everett reported that a 2009 investigation had concluded that Allison engaged in inappropriate conduct with a female student while working at a high school in Oregon.

Allison reportedly surrendered his teaching license in Oregon after the investigation. Allison, who had been a finalist for the head coaching position along with Marsh, was quickly placed on administrative leave.

Archbishop Murphy finished 8-3 after losing to Tumwater in the playoffs.

"Quite honestly, some of those kids, their two years at Murphy are probably not the snapshot they had envisioned," said Jensen, who met with his players after school on Tuesday. "I'm going to have to work to gain their trust, and rightfully so. I'm going to prove to these kids that I'm going to be here for the long term, and we're going to build something."

Jayson Jenks: 206-464-8277 or jjenks@seattletimes.com

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