Lynn Jensen with son Stuart Satullo and grandson Jett on the LHHS B Field

Coaches’ wives get so accustomed to moving from place to place that they’ve developed a standard greeting to share when they see each other – “So where are you now?” Lake Highlands High 1975 grad Lynn Jensen has coached football at schools in Garland, Richardson and Dallas ISDs – including 16 seasons as a Wildcat – but he and wife Kim believe they found their forever home when he accepted a job as Bishop Dunne Catholic School’s assistant director of athletics in September.

“This is exactly how I’d like to end my career one day – at a small school with disciplined kids, religious freedom and strong leaders. I’m a big guy with a booming voice, and there’s not a lot I haven’t seen or done. I think I can bring something to the table.”

Early in his career, Jensen had been named Middle School Coach of the Year in Garland when legendary coach Mike Zoffuto called to recruit him back to his alma mater. Jensen sought advice from another football legend, the late Homer B. Johnson, then athletic director for GISD.

“Homer was always encouraging to me and all of his coaches and players,” recalls Jensen. “He offered me a position coaching at the varsity level, but he said I’d be nuts not to grab a chance to coach at a program like LHHS.”

“I think about every good thing that happened to me there,” says Jensen, who still lives in Royal Highlands. “Working under [former RISD athletic director] Bob Dubey when Lake Highlands was a perennial powerhouse, being hired by Coach Zoffuto, like him or not, working under Jerry Gayden for 34 playoff games. We went to the fifth game three times. The only thing we didn’t do while I was there was win state. Getting the opportunity work under Bob Dubey and [current RISD athletic director] Leslie Slovak triggered my desire to seek an assistant athletic director position.”

Jensen left LHHS in 2008 when the entire football coaching staff was let go by Scott Smith, then the new coach of the Wildcats. Jensen admits he disagreed with the decision to break up the successful coaching squad after Smith’s winning first season, but he understands that many head coaches prefer to install their own crew.

Jensen moved on to coach at schools in DISD, and he expected to retire there one day. Then he learned about an open position as assistant director of athletics at Bishop Dunne. When his interview seemed to go well, he figured that indicated he was a perfect fit for the respected private school in Oak Cliff with high expectations on and off the field. Turns out an old friend from LH had paved the way.

“The principal had been on a mission trip to Honduras with [former LHHS coach and principal] Dr. Bob Iden over the summer, and they were good friends. When I listed Dr. Bob as my first reference, that was almost all they needed to hear.”

Jensen says he learned much of what he knows about leadership from his time at LHHS with Iden at the helm.

“In those days he would escape into the coaches’ office when he needed a 15- or 30- minute break and share his thoughts with us. He’s an amazing leader. I’ve been around some good principals, but he’s at the top. He understands how athletics can help brand and image a school. He let everybody get involved and encouraged all students to participate in some sort of extracurricular activity.”

When classes let out at Bishop Dunne each day, Jensen enjoys swinging by the athletic courts and fields to observe practice and support his players and coaches. He’s not there to dictate strategies or second guess choices, but he brings the fresh perspective of an experienced coach and lover-of-all-sports. Despite being a newbie on the administrative staff, Jensen says he’s “pleasantly surprised” at how often his coworkers ask for and incorporate his suggestions.

“They do not expect me to just sit there,” observes Jensen. “They say, ‘You’ve seen this before. What do you think?’”

Jensen says he loves working with intelligent, dedicated people, and that’s what he’s found at Bishop Dunne. He’s still learning to do things “the Dunne way,” but already he’s developed an admiration for Bishop Dunne’s athletic director, Eshombi “Kash” Singleton. Singleton is a graduate of Rice University who plays on the Texas Elite Spartans – 4-time champions of the Women’s National Football Conference.

“She couldn’t be any smarter,” Jensen gushes. “We have a great working relationship.”

Bishop Dunne has boys and girls competing in 17 sports at the TAPPS 5A level, and Jensen looks forward to bringing his experience to help those teams however he can. One of his fondest sports memories is of Wildcat football practice on Thanksgiving Day. Only serious contenders are still in the playoff hunt that late, so no one complains about being pulled away from turkey and cranberry sauce.

“We’d welcome families to come watch practice, and we’d have parents, siblings, grandparents and people from out of town. It would be serious practice for about 45 minutes, then we’d ask a couple of players to speak about what Thanksgiving means to them. They’d always talk about the importance of faith and family.”

Jensen says he’s “been around the block,” and he knows what a gem he’s found in Bishop Dunne.

“These kids are aggressive, and they want to do something smart. They’re still kids, but they are well-behaved, and if they mess up, they apologize. It’s like a breath of fresh air.”