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Former Lewis and Clark head football coach Tom Yearout, seen here celebrating a State 4A championship in 2007, takes over as head coach at Ferris, replacing fired Jim Sharkey. (John Froschauer / AP)

Tom Yearout named Ferris head football coach

Tom Yearout is moving 33 blocks up South Hill.

The former Lewis and Clark head football coach has accepted the Ferris head coaching job. He replaces Jim Sharkey.

“The more I thought about this job the more I believed we’d be a good fit for each other based on what they’re looking for and what I have to offer,” Yearout, 50, said. “The part that intrigued me was can I take what I believe in and establish it at another place.”

Yearout made it no secret that he wanted to be a head coach again even after he resigned at LC following the 2008 season.

Many thought Yearout, a Shadle Park graduate, would return to his roots when the job opened in 2010. He looked into the situation but decided to remain as an assistant at LC.

Yearout already has a big fan in his soon-to-be athletic director.

“He is such a solid teacher and human being,” Ferris athletic director Stacey Ward said. “I have never heard anyone have a bad thing to say about Tom. He’s been a pillar of the LC community. He’s worked really hard to make a personal connection with every kid in the program - from freshman all the way through seniors, by first and last name.”

Yearout was LC’s head coach for nine years. The Tigers compiled a 64-25 record during that stretch including winning the State 4A championship in 2007, the school’s first.

Prior to taking the head coaching job at LC, Yearout spent 11 seasons as an assistant. He didn’t leave coaching after stepping down at LC, serving as a defensive assistant the past eight years for his friend, Dave Hughes.

Something simple resonated with Ferris principal Ken Schutz during the interview process. Schutz wanted to know why Yearout wanted to be a head coach again.

“He said he needed a challenge,” Schutz said.

The Ferris job came open this spring when Sharkey was fired in March for allegedly exposing himself to players at a leadership camp last summer.

Sharkey spent 11 years as Ferris’ coach, compiling a 94-33 record and eight winning seasons including a 14-0 year and the school’s first state title in 2010.

Because of the difficult dismissal of Sharkey, Schutz said hiring a replacement capable of hitting the ground running was critical.

“We had to hit a home run and we believe we did,” Schutz said. “He’s a proven winner. He knows the (Greater Spokane League) inside and out. We just want to move forward, and he can do it. We talked to a lot of people about him and we just heard positive from every person.”

Former LC football quarterback Taylor Eglet sent Ward an instant message Wednesday morning after hearing the news.

“Congratulations on such a great hire,” Eglet told Ward. “When he (Yearout) told me yesterday, I told him three things. No. 1, I’m excited for him. No. 2, I’m jealous of any current and future Saxon football players. No. 3, I am so glad there there will be more young men in the world who grow up learning football and life from Coach Yearout. I even told him ‘go Saxons’.”

Yearout has taught PE, English and Social Studies in 28½ years. He will teach weightlifting/conditioning and PE at Ferris.

“We wanted him down there to build relationships with the kids every day,” Ward said.

Yearout is well respected around the GSL.

“Tom is a wonderful, wonderful person,” Gonzaga Prep coach Dave McKenna said. “He’s a great coach and good for kids. It’s a great hire for Ferris. His teams have always played hard, are disciplined and well coached and always compete.”

LC coach Dave Hughes feels like he’s losing his right-hand man.

“Tom and I are good friends. We’ll remain good friends and I wish him the best of luck,” Hughes said. “When you compete you compete but once it’s over you shake hands and move on with life. We’re on the same golf league team. We have a tee time (Thursday) at 3:45 at Qualchan.”

Yearout said the success Ferris has enjoyed certainly made the job attractive.

“It’s an established program,” Yearout said.

When he called Ward to accept the offer on Tuesday, he got emotional - especially walking past LC’s weightroom and driving away from the school.

“It was really surreal,” Yearout said. “It’s mixed emotions right now. But I’m more excited than I am said.”