By Jeremy Balan
UPDATE (Jun. 29, 8:45 a.m.): We were able to talk to Finley early this morning and this is the full transcript of our conversation.
SanFranPreps.com: I guess the first question is why? Why leave Washington?
Karl Finley: It was one of the hardest things to do. We had a good core of kids and a great program that was in line to compete for another Turkey Day championship, but I’m driving 100 miles round trip. That was getting difficult.
SFP: But why now? Why leave in late June?
Finley: It was an opportunity that came up. I had not been actively seeking something out, but something came up and I evaluated the situation. It’s not like I jumped for a perennially-powerful job. We took an opportunity to improve a program.
SFP: Did anything else influence you to leave?
Finley: We were forced to take a teacher on as our [junior varsity] coach on [last season]. That took away control from me. I had no oversight and no control over who he hired or what he run. My quarterback in spring football didn’t know plays and they didn’t know schemes. They were ready to play varsity, but just didn’t know what we were doing. They were running a spread shotgun scheme, which is not what we were doing [on varsity]. It was frustrating working in spring with the guys coming in. By the end of spring, we were where we were supposed to be at the beginning of the spring.
SFP: Did you get a chance to tell your players about you leaving?
Finley: Things happened kinda quick and I didn’t realize that it would happen that way. I had coaches calling me a day after I took the job to ask if I was leaving. I never had a chance to let [the players] know and I won’t have a chance to talk to them until they get off break, on July 10. It’s unfortunate that they have to hear about it through the grapevine. Everything just happened so fast. The saddest thing for me was leaving the players. They’re great kids and they’ve come so far.
(Original story posted Thursday night)
After five years as the head football coach at Washington High School, in which he won an Academic Athletic Association championship and made four Turkey Day appearances, Karl Finley resigned from the position on Tuesday.
Finley did not return repeated phone calls, messages and emails on Thursday, but Washington athletic director Lawrence Chan confirmed the resignation and the San Francisco Section’s website has the coaching position at the school listed as “TBA.”
Chan also confirmed that the Eagles’ 2012 schedule is set, but declined to comment on any other topic regarding Finley or the search for a replacement.
According to the Daily Republic, a newspaper in Solano County, Finley left Washington to take over the head coaching job at Armijo High School in Fairfield, where he will continue his habit of rebuilding high school programs.
Armijo went 1-9 last season and Finley, a
Marin County Vallejo resident who works at the Marin County Jail in San Rafael, succeeded at rebuilding in prior stops at San Rafael and Tamalpais. He also spent two years as the head coach at the College of Marin in Kentfield.
Finley did not indicate why he left Washington in the Daily Republic article, but did speak to his time with the Eagles.
“They were a little disorganized,” Finley told Paul Farmer of the Daily Republic. “There was not a lot of structure going on. We got a few kids out who had not played before. We kept things as simple as we could. We were pretty fortunate with the small numbers we had. They needed a little discipline, a little structure. We had some great kids. They weren’t the best athletes. They worked hard and I had a real good coaching staff.”
Washington was far from a reclamation project when he took over in 2007, but the Eagles had missed the playoffs in the two previous years. Finley led Washington to playoff appearances in all five of his years, including a Turkey Day championship in 2010, an undefeated AAA season in 2011 and an 29-10 overall record in AAA play.