Bremerton coach resigns after 1 game following years-long fight to get job back

BREMERTON, Wash. — Bremerton High School football coach Joe Kennedy will be stepping down after returning to the sideline for just one game.

Kennedy first took the national spotlight in 2015, when it came to light that he was praying with players at midfield following games. After a warning from the district, he was placed on leave before his contract wasn’t renewed.

That kicked off a years-long court battle culminating in a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in April 2022 where the conservative majority sided with Kennedy.

He coached his first game back last week, hinting at the time that he was uncertain whether he would continue in that role moving forward. On Wednesday, he confirmed his decision to step down.

“I believe I can best continue to advocate for constitutional freedom and religious liberty by working from outside the school system so that is what I will do,” Kennedy said in a written statement posted to his personal website. “I will continue to work to help people understand and embrace the historic ruling at the heart of our case. As a result of our case, we all have more freedom, not less. That should be celebrated and not disrespected.”

The Bremerton School District issued a statement of its own, stating that it “has received Mr. Kennedy’s resignation and it is pending board approval at tomorrow’s regularly scheduled meeting.”

“The District does not comment on personnel matters so we will not be issuing any further statements,” they added.