Former Dallas Cowboys Back Phillip Tanner Joins Jon Kitna’s High School Staff

Phillip Tanner carries the ball for the Dallas Cowboys
Ronald Martinez / Getty Images

Burleson High School is turning into a smaller version of the Dallas Cowboys. That’s because two former members of the team are now members of the school’s football coaching staff.

Former Cowboys quarterback Jon Kitna was named the team’s head coach earlier this year. Now he’s filling out his staff with coaches who have the kind of resume you don’t usually see at high schools outside of the Lone Star State, including onetime Dallas running back Phillip Tanner.

Not only are Tanner and Kitna former Cowboys players, but they are also former Dallas coaches. Kitna was the quarterbacks coach in 2019 and provided tutelage to Dak Prescott as he turned in one of his best seasons. Tanner was the special teams’ coach under former head-man Jason Garrett.

The two also played together for one season, back in 2011. That was Kitna’s final year in the league as a quarterback and Tanner’s rookie campaign in the NFL. As such, the two former Cowboys have formed a bond on several different levels. Now they’ll both be looking to keep their coaching careers going at the high school level.

The former running back announced on his Twitter account he had taken the new position with Burleson.

“Just want to thank ⁦Wayne Leek, Kevin Ozee, and the entire BHS family for allowing me this opportunity to take the field with my guy again. Looking forward to developing R.E.A.L Men and cultivating a community.”

The Star-Telegram reports that Burleson’s football program has had quite an uprooting in the last few months. The school hired new athletic director Kevin Ozee in February, but he officially took over the job at the beginning of March. A week after he took the helm, he hired Kitna to coach the football team. Just a few weeks later, the former NFL journeyman signal-caller was filling out his staff with another player who knows what it’s like to get to the highest level of football.

Kitna is certainly no stranger to the high school coaching ranks. He started his career at Lincoln High School in Tacoma, Washington, from 2012 to 2014. He then moved to Texas to take over the Waxahachie High School football team in 2015 and was there until 2017.

He then spent one season at Brophy Preparatory School in Arizona before being hired by the Cowboys in what would eventually be Garrett’s final year in 2019. Now he is back coaching high-schoolers, looking to build his resume back up.

Tanner, by comparison, is a relatively untested coach, with special teams for the Cowboys being his first season of note as a full-fledged assistant. After his tenure in Dallas, he, too, will try and use Burleson to build a career after his playing days.