BURLESON — The Burleson ISD board of trustees approved the hiring of former NFL quarterback Jon Kitna as Burleson High School’s head coach and athletic coordinator at Monday's regular meeting.
Kitna most recently served as the quarterbacks coach for the Dallas Cowboys in 2019, helping guide Dak Prescott to a career-best season with 4,902 passing yards and 30 touchdowns.
Kitna first began his coaching career at his alma mater Lincoln High School in Tacoma, Washington. He helped Tacoma to a 24-8 mark and three playoff appearances, including a quarterfinal appearance, over three seasons. He was then hired in 2015 as Waxahachie’s head football coach, where he posted a 20-13 mark over three seasons with one playoff berth.
After resigning from his position at Waxahachie, Kitna was hired as head football coach at Brophy College Preparatory High School in Phoenix, Arizona, in February 2018.
Kitna’s playing career in the NFL spanned 16 seasons with the Seattle Seahawks (1997-2000), Cincinnati Bengals (2001-05), Detroit Lions (2006-08), and Dallas Cowboys (2010-11). He threw for 29,745 yards in his career, currently good for 50th in NFL history, with 169 touchdowns and 165 interceptions.
In the 2003 season, Kitna was voted the NFL Comeback Player of the Year after throwing for 3,591 yards with 26 touchdowns in leading the Bengals to an 8-8 season, their first non-losing season since 1996.
Kitna’s son, Jalen, is a three-star quarterback prospect in the Class of 2021 and holds offers from Arizona, Boston College, Colorado, Florida, Georgia Tech, Oregon State, Tennessee, UAB, and Yale, among others. Jalen Kitna played his junior season at Frisco Reedy and his sophomore season at Brophy College Prep. It's unknown at this point if Jalen Kitna will play his senior season for the Elks or stay at Frisco Reedy. Another of Kitna’s sons, Jordan, walked on at TCU before transferring to Colorado State-Pueblo, where he remains on roster.
On Friday, new BISD Athletic Director Kevin Ozee wouldn’t reveal the candidate that would be brought for board approval at Monday’s meeting, but Ozee said he believed the Elks’ new head coach would be a “very influential” hiring.
“... I can tell you we went through a pretty extensive process and it was a unanimous decision from the committee,” Ozee said. “I believe that coaches have the most influence in their community. I know we already have good coaches that make positive influences every day, but this hire is going to be very influential and very positive. It’s going to be a great hiring for Burleson, not only the high school but the entire community.”
Kitna follows Gary McElroy’s eight-year tenure as the Elks’ head football coach and athletic coordinator. In February, McElroy was hired as the new head football coach and athletic director at Peaster ISD.
Under McElroy’s guidance, the Elks went 44-42 and made four playoff appearances. The 44 wins are the second-most by a coach in Burleson High School history. In 2017, McElroy coached the Elks to a school-record nine wins in the regular season. McElroy was a two-time Cleburne Ford All-Johnson County coach of the year in 2013 and 2014.
Editor's note: Check back later for an updated story with comments from BISD officials.