New Taft football coach no stranger to the school


Called “Coach T” by his players, Taft High School 2002 graduate John Tsarouchas has been named the school’s new football coach.

“This is a dream job in every sense of the word,” said Tsarouchas, whose childhood home was a short walk away from Taft. “Growing up, I particularly remember staring out the window and seeing the (practice) field,” he said.

Tsarouchas, who attended Hitch School, enrolled at Taft in 1998, when it stopped busing in new students in an effort to re-establish itself as a neighborhood school. He not only played football at Taft, but he served as the student representative to the local school council and was the valedictorian of his graduating class.

“This school is a great school,” Tsarouchas said. “I took a chance on myself and on Taft, and 4 years later I was at Northwestern University, so I think I did pretty well for myself.”

At Northwestern, Tsarouchas received a journalism degree and made the football team as a walk-on, although he never played in a game. “I was a tiny, undersized offensive lineman,” he said.

For the past five seasons, Tsarouchas coached offensive and defensive linemen for Taft, and he also served this fall as the assistant head coach to Dan Paplaczyk, who recently stepped down to spend more time with his family. The varsity team finished 2-7 this season.

Taft principal Mark Grishaber said that Tsarouchas was one of several quality candidates who applied for the coaching position but that his interview stood out from the others in because of one particular comment he made. “He said never underestimate someone who is going to work for his dream job,” Grishaber said.

Tsarouchas will be student teaching at Taft during the spring semester, and if there is an opening, he could receive a full-time position next fall, Grishaber said. Tsarouchas teaches social studies and English.