30Q-2-KICKOFF (No. 13): A new era at O’Dowd

Sunday’s question didn’t make it onto the blog due to “technical difficulties.” Here it is, to be followed shortly by today’s question No. 14.

Very few, if any, of our readers on Prep Corner can remember Bishop O’Dowd High football without Paul Perenon on the sideline. But that will change on Sept. 11 when the Dragons open up at home against Alameda.

What will Bishop O’Dowd be like in the Hardy Nickerson/post-Paul Perenon era?

The Dragons haven’t broken in a new head football coach since 1985. That’s well before anybody currently playing high school and probably college football were even born. Yours truly was only a few years old back then. So it’s sure to be a little bit of a shock to see someone else on the sidelines running things at O’Dowd. Perenon, for all his criticisms and all his praises (both have been plentiful on this blog), established a winning culture for the majority of his tenure with only two losing seasons in his 25 years.

That means Nickerson takes over a program that has and always will have expectations. Simply based on the success O’Dowd has had in football (and even its other sports), a season where the Dragons hover around .500 is not considered good enough. (To be clear, I’m not saying that’s my opinion, but from reading the room it seems to be the prevailing opinion from observers). With Nickerson’s NFL pedigree as a standout player and even his one-year stint as an NFL assistant, he seems like a guy who should be easily able to handle that pressure. You don’t perform on the big stage of the NFL and get scared away by any expectations, especially at the high school level.

Another advantage that Nickerson’s NFL pedigree will provide him is I’d expect the program to maintain the same type of discipline that Perenon instilled. The players are used to a coach running a tight ship and Nickerson is used to a disciplined environment and that should mesh well. Nickerson isn’t a stranger either, having served on the staff last year as linebackers coach. That should help make the transition as smooth as possible when your talking about a 25-year head coach moving on.

The one aspect that may play the biggest role is something I couldn’t answer. And that’s any possible backlash from the remaining players on the team that feel bitterness toward the way Perenon’s tenure at O’Dowd ended. I don’t know and I won’t speculate that there are any players with those types of feelings, but it’s possible. However, my belief is most high school players are pretty good about just focusing on playing football since their enjoyment of the game is what drives them to go out on the field every day. So I would guess there will be very limited outside distractions, except of course for when Mt. Eden comes in to face O’Dowd on Oct. 16.

Outside of that, I think O’Dowd should be well-prepared to fight toward having another successful season.

Jimmy Durkin

Jimmy Durkin is a sports writer for the Bay Area News Group.

  • It depends who is returning, starters, all league, etc. any injuries? Was Nickerson supportive of Perenon last year- that will answer any bad feelings from players about the way it went down.
    Nickerson will and should already know that parents don’t run a football program-coaches do. The players run the field and parents support the team.
    It will be interesting to see if parents test Nickerson.
    Perenon made a living teaching and coaching. Nickerson has already made his living, this is a hobby for him , a stop-over so to speak, if he doesn’t get bored or frustrated then it could turn out to be a long tenure.

  • YVFan08

    I heard that Nickerson was the reason as to why Perenon wasn’t rehired as the coach.

  • KillerD

    Nickerson will leave after two years at the wheel of the Dragons football program, his son will be done with football then, and say goodbye to coach Nickerson.

    For the opening game:

    Alameda 28
    O’dowd 14

  • I think O’dowd will be fired up with their new coach & take Alameda down by 3 TDs. Unless Nickerson gets the exact right situation a lot like the situtaions that the Valley schools have with PE classes along those lines I’m sure he’ll be gone after 2 years. Coaching is a grind, the kids, poitics can really burn people out. Unless things are going really smooth & they’re winning I don’t see any reason why he would keep coaching. Its why they never should have hired him. WHat a coincidence he wants to be a coach when his son reaches High School level. He wants to be Head Coach when his son reaches the Varsity level. Come on.

  • Barney

    Isn’t the old coach from YV, Chris Turner, the OC? He sure turned YV around from the wing-t to the spread offense in a hurry, and did well with it. Maybe he and Nickerson already have a “deal”, after 2 years Turner takes over?

  • ManDown

    ODowd will beat Alameda this year if not then I guess Alameda will be real. That is a big game for them this year but Alameda has had a lot of success against ODowd over the past couple of years.

  • Prep Fan

    agree with Killer D Alameda on the rise, O’Dowd on the decline. barely made playoffs last year, why this year unless they pull off an upset of Hayward or San Leandro anytime soon

  • when Nickerson’s son grads and goes on to college, if he plays, Dad is going to want to see all that , travel and be involved. That can’t happen if your coaching Friday nite lights. Perenon should have been retained, the changes are just a quick fix, Perenon was stability. O’Dowd should try to schedule some old CAL foes before their league. Everyone used to enjoy playing them, they thought they had a superiority complex over the other Catholic schools.