SUNCADIA — Jon Kitna was all settled into his role as a math teacher and football coach at Lincoln High School of Tacoma last year when the Dallas Cowboys called.

After starting quarterback Tony Romo went down with an injury in Week 16 of last season, Kitna — 41 at the time — served as the Cowboys’ third-string quarterback in a playoff-or-bust game against the Philadelphia Eagles. He donated his week’s salary of about $55,000 to Lincoln.

Kitna had already retired from the NFL and the Cowboys in 2012 after playing 15 seasons, his first four with the Seahawks.

While he’s enjoying his summer off and preparing for the Abes’ fall football season, Kitna isn’t ruling out another NFL appearance. 

“You never know,” he said, chuckling, on Thursday. “I’m not going to turn it down.”

Kitna graduated from Central Washington University with a degree in math education, and for the past 12 summers, has been a part of the Kitna Wildcat Classic, a golf tournament at Suncadia’s Prospector and Rope Rider courses. Thursday marked the 12th, and for the first time in the event’s history, it was sold out, with nearly 300 golfers. 

“Obviously, we’re thrilled that we’ve been able to entirely fill this year’s field,” CWU Athletics Director Dennis Francois said. “Our tournament has been building each year, which is a testimony to our alumni, friends, sponsors and all those who assist us in enhancing the Central student-athlete experience.”

The event’s profits, including revenue from a post-golf auction, benefitted Central’s athletic department, and the future Student-Athlete Academic Success Center. The center will be located in the former CWU Chimposium building on Nicholson Boulevard, a block west of Nicholson Pavilion and Tomlinson Stadium.

Tournament’s history

The tournament — the athletic department’s largest annual fundraiser — has been around more than 12 years, but Kitna and the university wanted to enhance it.

“We talked and wanted to make it really good and make it a reunion for players and alumni every year,” Kitna said. “It’s turned out really good.”

The field included sponsors, Central alumni, former athletes, faculty and coaches, including Michael Farrand, Mallory Holtman-Fletcher, Ian Shoemaker and Greg Sparling.

“It went well. It sounded like everybody on the course had a good time,” Sparling said afterward. “There was a really good buzz out there about the tournament. Our group didn’t win any prizes, but we had wonderful time.”

The day began with mingling, food and drinks, and once the 18 holes were completed, everybody met for a reception and an awards ceremony.

“It’s one thing I really try to do every year,” Kitna said. “The last couple years have been difficult with football. But I’d love to get here every year.”


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