Jim Ennis arrived at Everett High School in 1939 as a 27-year-old assistant football coach and head basketball and golf coach. A former star athlete at Seattle’s Broadway High School and Tacoma’s College of Puget Sound, he established himself quickly as a coach. His 1939-40 basketball squad completed an undefeated season by beating Oakville High 64-19 in the state title game. Winning four tournament games by an average of 31 points, the team is considered one of the most dominant high school teams in Washington State history.
Ennis later would serve as Everett School District athletic director and head football coach. His 1952 football team was considered one of the greatest in the state’s history, beating Franklin of Seattle in the Turkey Day game to win the mythical state title. Giving up coaching after the 1958 season, Ennis turned his attention to his athletic director position and building the district’s strong physical education and athletic programs.
Dubbed “the Old Coach”, Ennis would return to successfully coach Cascade High School football for several season before retiring from the school district in 1977. He remained active in sports and the community. Among his contributions were editing the state’s coaches magazine, guiding the annual high school East-West All-Star Football Game and helping the Everett Giants Baseball Club get it start.
Over his lifetime, Jim Ennis coached eight sports at four high schools and three colleges, and was an early proponent of the then controversial proposition that female student athletes deserved the same opportunities as male student athletes. Ennis was a coach or athletic director for 42 years, 33 of them with the Everett School District. Both of his sons, Jim and Terry, and all three of his sons-in-law were also high school head coaches and many of his former players would also go into the teaching and coaching profession.
A lifelong athlete, passed away in 1990 at the age of 78.