Central Washington’s John Picha announced Wednesday that he will not apply for the Wildcats head coaching position on a permanent basis.
Picha, 47, was CWU’s interim head coach this past season, having been named to that post by first-year athletic director Dennis Francois after Francois fired Blaine Bennett in August. The Wildcats finished 7-4 under Picha, including 7-3 in the GNAC which was good for a second-place tie.
“I’m very thankful for the chance to be the head football coach here this past season,” Picha said by telephone. “It was a blessing and it was fun. I appreciate the kids and I enjoyed coaching them.
“But as for having the job on a permanent basis, it’s not something I’ve aspired to do. With me it’s sort of like, why isn’t every teacher a principal?”
Picha said last week that he wanted to discuss the situation with his wife, Brenda, and their two children before making a decision.
“I’ve been thinking a lot about it,” he said, “and I sort of reached the point where I figured if I had to think a lot about it, I probably wouldn’t be a good fit.”
A 1984 graduate of Puyallup’s Rogers High School, Picha came to Central as a center in 1986 and played two seasons — one for head coach Tom Parry and the other for the late Mike Dunbar.
He has been a member of the Wildcats’ football staff for 25 years, the last 19 of which have been full time. Picha also was CWU’s track and field coach from 1995-99.
Because of his lengthy tenure at Central and the high level of respect he’d developed within the athletic department and around Ellensburg, Picha was mentioned as a head coaching candidate when John Zamberlin left for Idaho State in 2006 and again when Zamberlin’s successor, Beau Baldwin, took the Eastern Washington job a year later. But Picha did not apply for the job in either instance.
Francois has said the football job was posted on Nov. 1, and that eight to 10 applicants will be chosen from the total pool to be interviewed via telephone. From that group, three to five finalists will be brought to the CWU campus in Ellensburg for interviews toward the middle of next month.
Francois also said he hopes to have a new coach in place by Jan. 1.