David Jaynes has assisted in Franklin's baseball and football programs.
David Jaynes has assisted in Franklin's baseball and football programs.

David Jaynes was looking for an ideal opportunity for his first head coaching job. Ultimately, it found him first.

Jaynes has been hired as the girls basketball coach at Franklin, a position he assumed on an interim basis midway through last season.

A health and PE teacher at Franklin, he took over for Jesse Kirkpatrick at the urging of the Franklin administration and split the last 12 games for the Lightning, who finished 10-14. He said the positive experience was enough for him to apply for the permanent job.

“This was kind of the opportunity I've been looking for, and I thought I could really make an impact,” Jaynes said. “I just feel super lucky that I was given the opportunity. It's really a dream come true for me.”

The Franklin program is close to his heart. His father, Bruce, coached the girls to the state playoffs five times in 11 seasons (1984-95), including the 1988 state tournament, and returned to coach the boys team for two seasons (2001-03). His sister, Jennifer, played on the 2005-06 team that won the Portland Interscholastic League title.

“The Franklin girls team is something I'm really passionate about just because it's been in my family since I was born,” he said. “It was just an opportunity I couldn't pass up.”

Franklin athletic director Scott Santangelo said Jaynes "did a fabulous job in a really hard time for the kids" last season.

"We were kind of training him to take over for me as AD when I retire," Santangelo said. "But he had an option to be a coach and teach in the building, and that's what he really loves doing."

Jaynes, a 2009 Wilson graduate, has assisted in the baseball programs at Wilson, David Douglas, Lincoln and Franklin. He also assisted Franklin football for two seasons (2017-18) after being hired as a teacher at the school.

But Jaynes said that basketball “is kind of in my blood.” He went to Franklin girls practices as a toddler and later was a ballboy for the boys team, sometimes joining the pregame layup lines.

His uncle, Dwight Jaynes, is a sports reporter who has covered the Portland Trail Blazers since the 1970s. He said Dwight is a valuable resource for him.

“We're very close. We talk constantly,” David said. “He's been a great sounding board for me as far as systems and who to watch.”

Franklin hasn't finished with a winning record since going 21-5 in 2009 and 22-5 in 2010, reaching the 6A quarterfinals both years behind Shoni and Jude Schimmel, sisters who went on to play at Louisville.

Jaynes, the team's sixth coach since 2014, said he is encouraged by how the PIL administration and Santangelo have invested in youth programs.

“I definitely wouldn't have been interested if I didn't feel like there was a complete buy-in in really making the entire league better each and every year,” Jaynes said. “I truly believe they're doing that.”

Benson, the 2019 state champion, and Grant have dominated the PIL for the past five seasons. Franklin, which finished in fifth place at 8-8 last season, has plenty of work to do to close the gap.

“Overcoming that is just going to take time,” Jaynes said. “I think we can compete, but those teams are great. We have to rise to that level.

“I think we have the nicest facilities in the state of Oregon, or one of the nicest, at least. If we're building a winning culture, and if I'm doing what I need to do, and the players are buying in, the rest will take care of itself.”

The positive feedback that Jaynes received from other PIL coaches last season was a factor in him returning.

“We've got a ton of super experienced coaches who've had success at the highest level,” he said. “Their kind words were really what motivated me. They were encouraging me and saying I was doing a great job.”

Working with the Franklin players also made an impact on him.

“The girls are fantastic,” he said. “Every single time I get to interact, it's been really, really special. That played an enormous role in wanting to come back because the experience was so enjoyable on every level. It was a lot of fun.”

All but two players from last season are eligible to return, including three starters in senior guards Carmen Fiarito. Oby Nwokoma and Christy Nguyen. The team had seven juniors on its roster last season.

“We have a great group of seniors who have come up through the program,” Jaynes said. “They're a clear indication that the youth program is working just because the group has stayed together all along.

“I definitely hope to give them a sendoff that they deserve because they've had four hard years, and they deserve to have one year of stability and an opportunity to play.”