Originally from Southern California, Coach Aaron Pitts went to Rialto High School, where he played varsity for three years before going on to play at Iowa Wesley. Pitts played wide receiver and return man. Clearly, football courses through his veins. “If you love it, football is hard to get away from. Anytime I can import a little bit of knowledge into someone else who loves the game..well, it’s hard not to! My favorite thing is kids who want to get better, to do well. Helping them get better, fine-tuning the details of better tackling, footwork, reading blocks, or whatever I can do to help them get better. That is why I coach,” Pitts said with great energy.
In concert with the culture of the Highline coaching staff, Pitts is here for more than the Xs and Os of the game. “I want to mentor these kids through the game of football: showing up on time, letting yes’ be yes and no’s be no, doing the right thing when no one is watching, (which is integrity). Helping young men with those steps before they get off into the real world is big, really big,” a Pitts said.
Coach Pitts came to the area 8 years ago because of family. He has been coaching high school football since then at Newport High School and Rainier Beach. He connected with Head Coach Deontae Cooper two years ago and has been at Highline since.
“The experience at Highline has been phenomenal! I absolutely love the coaching staff, the culture, the kids, the buy-in, and the support we receive from the community. The difference between this program and others really starts at the top. When you have a man like Deontae Cooper leading the charge with the energy he brings and his love for the game, the love for the students and staff is unparalleled. You know what you are going to get out of him. Coop makes a big difference in the lives of everybody here,” said Pitts.
“Coach Cooper has a few statements he makes. At the end of every practice we chant, ‘Let your yes be yes and your no be no. Now go home and tell someone you love them.’ He is a man of his word. If he says it, he will do it. If he says yes, it’s yes. If he says no, it is no. If he says he loves you, he loves you,” said a smiling Pitts. “But the second and maybe more important thing is this, he always says, ‘How you do anything is how you do everything.’ So if you approach something with the right attitude, the right mindset, wanting to attack it, wanting to get better, that is what will happen. If you do not approach things like that, but instead, with a negative or downcast attitude, then life will be that way. I am a couple of years older than Deontae, but he is a great mentor to me”, said Pitts.
Pitts coaches the defensive backs. Pitts loves working with Marquawn McCraney. “Who does not like to work with a talent like Marquawn? He is easy to coach, a 4-star recruit, power 5 guy.”
“When you look at a guy that comes in and does it the right way, lifting weights hard, doesn’t argue with the coaches, doing what we say, I think Nat Clay has made the biggest jump this year. He did not play his freshman year due to injury. Now he is the starting corner and the guy we put on an opponent’s best receiver. I look forward to seeing how he develops next year and then into college,” said Pitts.
Coach Pitts loves his entire group of defensive backs, saying they work together and do as the coaches tell them. Some are new to the game or have transferred in. But they have gelled and worked together, as the number of shutouts demonstrates. “Not a lot of teams pass on us. When they do, we make plays on the ball. We have long athletic guys. Playing more games together has added to our growth and our record. If we lock down the backend, the rest of the defense can take care of their business,” said Pitts.
The love of the kids, the school, and the community of Burien pour forth from Coach Pitts. “To bring the pride back to a proud place like Highline is a great motivator. We have a great community and phenomenal support from the staff, parents, and the Gem of the Sound. Our success has brought a lot of support. We want to continue being a model program in the school and outside. Kids want to be part of something going well. We want to help guys get to the next level. Playing in high school is fun, but playing in college is great. We want them to have the experiences the coaches have had, “said Pitts.
Coach Pitts was also King County Coach of the Year last season as the Head Coach of the Evergreen Wolverines baseball team. This a tribute to the kind of staff our Highline kids are honored to play under. Highline has two Coaches of the Year on their staff with Cooper and Pitts.
This article ends the interviews of the Highline Football coaching staff. As a school, a city, and especially all the parents whose sons have had the honor to play for this staff, we all should be overwhelmed with gratefulness. They have made our city, Highline High School, and most importantly, 60+ young men into better students, friends, and players. But above all, of better character. Thank you, Deontae and all the coaching staff!
So with them all, let us, “Let our yes’s be yes, our no’s be no. And now go home and tell somebody you love them.”