Gregg Pistochini: Nevada Union athletics need new league to be successful
With respect to Mr. Black’s personal opinions regarding Nevada Union High School Football Coach Houlihan, I would like to point out a few things that you may have forgotten to consider:
1. Nevada Union has had a consistent declining enrollment since Coach Houlihan’s hiring, and the number of student athletes has shown a direct correlation to the enrollment issues.
Nevada Union currently stands at an on-campus enrollment that is at the lower end of the Division 2 school populations (NU is the second smallest school in the SFL), and possibly heading for Division 3 types of numbers with no “inbound” transfer athletes arriving on campus — unlike the other schools in Nevada and Placer counties.
2. Coach Houlihan schedules tough preseason opponents (Placer 8-0, Lincoln 5-3, Pleasant Grove 4-4 (four losses are to Folsom #1, Elk Grove #2, Rocklin #5 and Grant #9) and plays in the toughest league in California (six SFL teams were Sac Bee Top 20 just two weeks ago).
3. Coach Houlihan inherited a program that was not exactly “dominating” in the first place.
Keep in mind that since joining the SFL five years ago, NU has only won five league football games having beaten Roseville and Woodcreek twice, and Rocklin only once (Coach Humphers’ Miners were 0-5 in 2010, 3-2 in 2011 and 2-3 in 2012).
NU has not beaten Granite Bay or Del Oro in league play, and with Roseville leaving the SFL (and remember two of the five SFL wins came against Roseville) and Folsom and Oak Ridge joining, things have become much more difficult.
4. In 2012, the year before Coach Houlihan became the head coach, NU was 5-5 in the regular season and 2-3 in the SFL before losing to Franklin in the opening round of the playoffs.
The two league wins were against Roseville and Woodcreek, and three preseason wins were McQueen, Chico and Grant (who by the way finished 5-5 that season and lost to Burbank in the first round of the playoffs, Grant’s weakest team in memory).
5. The quick fix would be to go back to watered down preseason schedules and look for a 4-6 or 5-5 overall record, but who learns anything from that?
A soft preseason will in no way prepare the young men for the SFL meat grinder that awaits them each season.
Bear Bryant, Nick Saban and Pete Carroll, (just to name a few) would not fare any better if put in Coach Houlihan’s shoes.
Is it always about winning? Or is it about learning life skills, dealing with adversity and overcoming seemingly insurmountable challenges?
The win/loss record of Nevada Union Football is in no way a reflection of Coach Houlihan’s ability to be a head coach and leader of young men.
Put NU in the Pioneer Valley League, Capital Athletic League or Tri-County Conference and watch the ship sail — it is purely a demographics issue and hopefully a fair resolution is on the horizon for the entire Miner Nation (all NU varsity sports combined are winning at an approximate .300 since joining the SFL and all varsity sports combined have only two championships).
Life’s greatest victories come from its worst defeats.
Gregg Pistochini lives in Auburn.
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