Masaki Matsumoto, one of the best young teacher-coaches in the Los Angeles Unified School District, announced on Friday he is leaving as football coach at Hollywood Bernstein to become the new coach at Lincoln High in Tacoma, Wa.
It's a huge loss not only for Bernstein but a district that has been lacking quality young coaches.
"I'm going back home," Matsumoto said.
He's a native of Seattle and his mother lives nearby. Lincoln was needing a coach after former NFL quarterback Jon Kitna left for Texas.
Matsumoto, 32, the head coach for three years at Bernstein and a teacher for six years, received acclaim for using character building to make a difference in his players' lives.
He was The Times' coach of the year in 2013, when, during the summer, he sent home a letter to his players' parents asking them to write a letter back on how much they loved their sons. It served as a life-changing experience for some of his players and parents.
On Friday, Matsumoto told his Bernstein players of his decision.
"It was terrible," Matsumoto said. "A lot of crying, including myself."
Matsumoto said he's not leaving until the middle of March and will help Bernstein find a replacement.
If Lincoln students want to know what they are getting, here's the link to a story about Matsumoto and his team from 2013.