Jeff Zenisek, a former football player and coach for Central Washington, is returning to Ellesnburg as the Ellensburg High School football coach.

He stepped down as head coach at White River after three seasons to take the Ellensburg job, replacing Randy Affholter, who left in February after 22 years. Zenisek cited Ellensburg, where he spent years as a player and then coach at Central Washington, as a place he hopes to retire with his wife.

“It’s got some really good tradition, Randy has done an excellent job there,” Zenisek said. “It’s going to be a transition and when you’ve been there that long and done a great job and the rapport, it’s going to be tough shoes to fill.”

Affholter left in February to become Kennewick‘s next head football coach.

Zenisek brings decades of head coaching experience at the high school and college level. He was head coach of Central Washington when it won the NAIA national championship in 1995, a team that featured Jon Kitna at quarterback, who went on to have a 14-year NFL career.

After stints as an assistant at Northern Iowa and a head coach at Western State Colorado University, Zenisek returned to the high school level. Before White River, he coached 1A Tenino for 13 seasons then 4A Thomas Jefferson for two.

Ellensburg, a 2A school, went 6-5 (3-1) and finished second in the Central Washington Athletic Conference last season. Zenisek is up for the task of continuing the tradition of a program he said was left in good shape.

“That’s going to be hard, I realize that,” Zekisek said. That’s my goal — continue the legacy he left.”

Statewide High School Sports Reporter at SBLive | andy@scorebooklive.com

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