It was a trying week at Jordan High School. Football coach John Kane abruptly was fired last Sunday by school principal Ronnie Coleman. It was a shocking move. Even though the Panthers were 0-6 and coming off a 34-0 loss to Compton it was an atypical decision because high school coaches rarely are terminated midseason. Kane, who teaches special education at Jordan, was in his fifth year as the head football coach.
Five-year assistant coach Larry Hulen was named interim head coach and stepped into a situation that was tenuous, to say the least.
“It’s been a good week, a busy week to say the least,’’ Hulen said.
Coleman gave Hulen the news Monday at lunchtime.
“It was a little surprising,’’ Hulen said. “I was under the assumption that Coach Kane was going to finish out the season. “But this week we had a job to do and I was just doing my job.’’
Friday night was Hulen’s first time making all the key decisions although he has served as Jordan’s head freshman coach the past several years. Hulen said practice went well this week in preparation for Wilson.
“The kids have kept their heads up,’’ Hulen said. “They’re working through it.’’
Hulen considers himself a good friend of Kane’s and said he was in contact with him throughout the week. He said the former Jordan coach is doing fine.
Kim Wofford, whose son Josh is a senior on the team, said her son had a good rapport with Kane and was sad that the coach was let go. However, Wofford added, “Jordan is ready for a well-needed change.’’
Another parent, Jessica Chavez, mother of senior Brandon Espinoza, said Kane always was nice to her son. However she added, “But a change should have been made last year.” According to Chavez, several players voluntarily left the team after the team’s 56-6 loss to Paramount.
As for Hulen’s debut, it was a tough one. Visiting Wilson, aided by a pair of touchdowns from Cameron Johnson and Dejour Smith, wore down the host Panthers 58-6. After the game Hulen and his staff offered encouraging words to the assembled players letting them know the importance of unity and having fun playing the game.
Not only was it an emotional week for the Jordan team and staff, the players had to learn a new offense. Hulen installed a pass-oriented spread attack to replace the run-heavy Wing-T attack that Kane used.
“It was pretty hard this week learning a new offense, especially for me,’’ sophomore quarterback Anthony Scott said. “But the spread will be better for us because we don’t have the personnel and numbers to run the Wing-T.”
Scott said he was shocked when he learned that Kane had been fired.
“I heard rumors,’’ Scott said. “But I thought it would be maybe next season. This shocked everyone.’’
Scott’s 78-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Maesean Misher in the fourth quarter was Jordan’s top highlight of the game.
“Losing our coach like this is going to be a learning process for us,’’ Misher said. “We’ll have to grind and grind and grind from here on out. But being a wide receiver, I’m excited about the new offense.’’