SK banking on ex-player to turn football program around

Sean Banks once walked the halls of South Kitsap High School as a student and football player, competing under the last great Wolves coach in D.J. Sigurdson and taking his talents all the way to the state playoffs.

Now he will walk those same halls as the newest head coach, replacing Dan Ericson, who resigned last December after four years.

Banks said he understands the difficulty of the road ahead as he is tasked with reviving a football program that since Sigurdson’s retirement in 2012 has burned through four head coaches, none of whom finished their short stints with a winning record.

“I know how people feel about it from the outside looking in, and it’s going to be a lot of hard work. This would be the case if you went anywhere,” he said.

Banks has served in occasional coaching capacities while working in the district’s special education department. For South Kitsap, he served as an assistant coach under Gavin Kralik in 2015 and Cory Vartanian in 2017-18. However, his most successful coaching came recently at Lincoln High School in Tacoma as defensive coordinator. The Abes finished the previous season with a perfect record up until a close state quarterfinal loss to perennial power Bellevue.

It was a culture of hard work and dedication in all parts of the game, especially the weight room, that Banks said brought that team to great places. He hopes to integrate that same culture into the Wolves program, not worrying about the level of talent, but the work ethic players show.

“Culture is created not by what you preach, but by what you tolerate,” he said. “Everybody says they want to work hard. Everybody says they want to do this and that, but the question is can we get the kids to buy in and not tolerate half-assed effort.”

Banks has already begun a regular weightlifting schedule for players. He has already reported seeing higher numbers in the few days he’s been there, giving him hope for the weeks ahead. “We say that the big party in Port Orchard is in the weight room after school from 2:30 to 4:00,” he said. “Our kids showed that today, and I knew they would. We just got to keep building on it.”

Regardless of the difficult task, Banks said he is thrilled to get what he considered to be his dream job and plans to stick around as long as possible. “They could offer me the job at some prestigious NFL team, and I wouldn’t bat an eye. I plan to be here until I retire as long as the community and bosses will have me,” he said.