Home Local Sports Kennedy Catholic Lancers Coach Cross Hired for New Position

Coach Cross Hired for New Position

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By Joe Slye

Sheldon Cross is leaving the Kennedy Catholic Lancers head football coach position to take the offensive coordinator position for the Division I, Big Sky Conference Cal Poly Mustangs in San Luis Obispo, CA. Cross just completed season seven at Kennedy Catholic. He inherited a successful program in 2016, taking it to even higher levels. The 2022 season marked four consecutive North Puget Sound League 4A championships. He also guided the 2022 team to a first-time-ever Lancer trip to the Washington State 4A Tournament football championship game finals. What a great way to end his Lancer stay, even with a heartbreaking 24-22 loss to Lake Stevens in the championship finals!
Cross was a quarterback who graduated from Stadium High School in Tacoma. He headed to tiny NAIA Iowa Wesleyan (less than 1000 students) for his college career. He also had a brief professional career in Germany and Austria and won an EFAF Cup European Championship. In 2005 Cross started his coaching career as the offensive coordinator and quarterback’s coach at Iowa Wesleyan.

In 2007 he returned to the Northwest and took the head coaching position at Interlake High School in Bellevue. By season two, he had the Saints in the state playoffs and, in 2009, was named Kingco Conference Coach of the Year.

A call from Washington State University head coach Paul Wulff in 2010 lured Cross back into the college football world. A year at WSU led to a year at New Mexico Highlands University. This led to a year at Illinois State University, leading to 3 years at Idaho State University. Many good things happened on this journey, especially Cross’s role in working with record-breaking offenses.

Cross took the Kennedy Catholic head coach position in 2016. He inherited a team that had made it to the state tournament the prior year, had a strong foundation, and a legacy of winning. A new-style offense was installed by Cross when he arrived at Kennedy Catholic. The pass-happy “Air Raid” replaced the old Wing T of the prior 50 years. He delivered a high-powered offense and a no-nonsense defense. The result…55 wins in his seven Lancer seasons!

Cross is just the fourth head coach in the 55-year history of the school. He replaced Bob Bourgette, who had been in the program for 44 years (21 as head coach, where he compiled a 185-40 record and won 18 league titles in the Seamount and North Puget Sound Leagues.) Before Bourgette, Tom Merrill coached the Lancers for 23 seasons and compiled a 146-80 record. His teams won eight league championships and made ten playoff appearances. The founding head coach was Lou Tice, who coached the Lancers for the first four seasons and compiled a 22-12-2 varsity record. Tice set the foundation for all future Kennedy Catholic coaches and had a hand in all their success. While coaching the Lancers, Tice established The Pacific Institute, a corporation specializing in leadership development. Numerous Kennedy Catholic coaches, players, and faculty have been mentored by the teachings of The Pacific Institute, which have served to motivate and “bring out the best” in Lancers for over 50 years.

Cross filled some big shoes when he took on the Lancer head coach position; he did just fine in his seven seasons, making his own distinct mark in the Lancer record book. Cross will reunite with Cal Poly head coach Paul Wulff (Cross coached for Wulff at Washington State University in 2010.) Wulff was promoted to head coach at Cal Poly on December 6, 2022, after three seasons on the staff with head coach Beau Baldwin who moved on to the offensive coordinator position at Arizona State. Cross, writing a farewell letter to the Lancer family, thanked the administration for believing in the program’s vision to “Pursue Excellence,” the players for “Believing Big,” and each student-athlete for living out the program’s core mission, creating a vision to what their life will be, living out their very best in “faith without fear.” In his seven seasons, Cross has upped the bar for what Lancer football can accomplish.

Our best wishes to you, Coach Cross!

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