By David Krueger Herald Writer
The Lynnwood football team is looking to bring some stability to the Royals.
Lynnwood Athletic Director Rob McMains started by bringing back a familiar face.
Keauntea Bankhead, who served as co-interim head coach at Lynnwood last season, will return to the Royals this next season.
This time, as Lynnwood’s head coach.
“He just impressed us with the way he took over and made adjustments as the season went on, and has impressed us throughout the offseason as well,” McMains said. “He’s a guy the kids respect and like. Ultimately, he’s just a man of character. He’s young, enthusiastic and has a lot of potential as a head coach.”
Bankhead, 28, and assistant coach Danny Hawkins took over for the Royals before the start of the 2013 season, when then-head coach Adam Fermstad was placed on leave. Fermstad was relieved of his coaching duties by the third game of Lynnwood’s season.
The coaching change was a familiar sight for a Lynnwood team that has had significant turnover since 2000. Only one coach has remained at the school for three-consecutive years since then, with others departing after one- or two-season stints.
“We’re all tired of the turnover in our football caching staff,” McMains said. “I’ve only been here seven years and I’m tired of it. The kids are tired of it, the parents are tired of it. We definitely want to see some stability in our team’s coaching staff, because the best teams have it. The last 14 football seasons we’ve had one coach last three years. No program at any school is going to be able to build anything with that sort of turnover.”
Bankhead hopes to bring some stability to the Royals. He believes he’s earned the team’s trust, with many of the players talking to McMains and asking him to hire Bankhead.
“They don’t believe a coach will stay,” Bankhead said. “I think me being an assistant, and coming back for a third year they trust me and they know – even as an assistant – he was coming here. I think that’s a good thing. Rob told me they wrote letters to him wanting me to come back. There was a lot of support from the team and parents and I’m so thankful.”
A teacher at Scriber Lake High School, Bankhead believes Lynnwood has some talented players and could make some noise in Wesco next season.
“I’m really excited,” Bankhead said. “I want to thank Rob for the opportunity and the chance to run the program at Lynnwood High School. We’ve got a lot of guys coming back and I think we can be legitimate competitors in this league. We’ve got great players. I’m excited about these kids. I see them every day. They’re a big part of my life and I really want to see them be successful.”
A top recruit out of Ballard High School in 2004, Bankhead was the consensus player of the year for the state of Washington his senior season. Bankhead still owns the state record with 22 receptions in a game against Monroe.
However, at Dixie State College in Utah Bankhead was strictly a defensive player, and he sees himself as more of a defensive coach.
“At Ballard I kind of did a little bit of everything,” Bankhead said. “… I’m more of a defensive guy. Being the (defensive coordinator) last year, there are a lot of things I’m still working on and improving in but I would definitely say I’m a defensive-minded guy for sure.”
Along with Hawkins, Bankhead has been running the offseason workouts at Lynnwood. The duo has McMains excited about where Lynnwood football is heading.
“In terms of where the program is at right now, the offseason workouts are better than they have been since I’ve been here,” McMains said. “… We are truly are moving in the right direction right now.”