Hall of Fame coach Paul Knox keeps teaching lessons at Washington Prep

Paul Knox, the football coach at Washington Prep, embraces his former Dorsey player, Johnathan Franklin, at an awards banquet. Knox turns 67 in December and keeps coaching.
(Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

No one should be surprised that City Section Hall of Fame football coach Paul Knox is enjoying his time coaching at Washington Prep even though he turns 67 in December.

“I’m having fun,” he said. “We’re trying to instill in the kids the idea of work ethic and commitment.”

Washington Prep is 9-2 and won its first playoff game since the 1990s last week when the Generals defeated Los Angeles in a City Section Division III opener. That’s pretty good progress for Knox, who took the job in 2016 after he was unceremoniously pushed out as coach at Dorsey following the 2014 season.

Knox’s teams won City titles in 1989, ’91, ’95 and 2001. More importantly, after taking over at Dorsey in 1985, he prepared numerous players for adulthood and futures in college, the NFL or life in the community. He’s now trying to do the same at Washington Prep.


The Generals have been led by receiver-safety Curtis Taylor and offensive lineman-linebacker Dashaud Jackson.

Washington Prep plays host to Panorama on Friday in a quarterfinal playoff game.

To understand the impact Knox has made, it was at a banquet last winter he ran into former Dorsey running back Johnathan Franklin. The two embraced, the coach and his former pupil. It was a scene that helps explain why coaches coach.