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Nevada Union football coach should resign

We had high hopes this season with the selection of Dennis Houlihan as the new Nevada Union varsity head football coach.

In no way could we visualize him doing such a poor job as a coach of young men. But the season results speak for themselves.

To my knowledge, never in NU football history did our varsity team ever: lose all season games and end up with a record of 0-10; allow league opponents to score an average of 57.0 points per game; allow opponents to score 51.1 ppg; have second-half running clock to keep an opponent’s score from skyrocketing (the clock ran in eight of 10 games); only scored 13.4 ppg in all games; play non-competitive football in almost every aspect of all games; rank 128th of 128 Section Division I-IV teams based on games won/lost, points per game scored and points allowed.



Houlihan told the team in his first players-only meeting that our football program had fallen on hard times, and he was going to turn things around. If we had problems, he failed.

How could the Miners fall so far in one season? It all came down to the coaching they received. All but one of Houlihan’s coaches previously coached under Dave Humphers, and those teams were competitive with winning seasons. So what caused our 2013 zero-win, non-competitive season? It was the new man in charge. It was his offense, defense, special teams and style of coaching that caused the team’s demise, not the players, as he claimed in media interviews. The 1974 FERPA Act is to keep a teacher/coach from going public with private negative info about student/player, but Houlihan gave the media the names of players ineligible to play due to failing grades.




I was associated with the Miners since 1995 as a “super fan/assistant coach,” attending most practices. But this year, it made me very upset to watch and listen to Houlihan’s gruff, negative coaching style with him and some assistants yelling in the faces of players with belittling comments. Based on his coaching style, I could no longer support him. Yes, I should have faced him down and told him that his negative coaching style was definitely wrong and would lead to negative results. Being 81 years old and seeing short tempers exposed every day at Hooper Stadium, I did not want to risk physical confrontation. I’m truly sorry that I didn’t face him down, and I apologize to all the players for not supporting them in their time of need. Yelling and berating players with negative comments results in zero respect from players. When a player respects his coach, he will run through a brick wall for that coach. Positive input equals positive output. A coach must respect his players as people first, and coach Houlihan failed to do so and lost respect from his players.

A coach must understand and teach the mental aspects of the game. Players must have positive, confident winning attitudes to succeed on the gridiron. The brain controls what the body does. Confident/positive/winning attitudes cause confident/positive/winning results. Houlihan failed miserably to prepare players to have confident/positive/winning attitudes, and the team results speak volumes.

The young men of our community who play football for NU are from good families with family support. They have good work ethics are intelligent team players, who are goal-oriented, love football and have as much athletic talent as players from other teams. This season’s players were no different from those in the past who wore the blue and gold, and they, too, would have been winners with proper coaching.

Some might say a one-year trial for coach Houlihan is not enough. My response is one year was too much! The proof is in the pudding.

For the benefit of our team, students, Nevada Union and our community, an important action must take place to start NU back on the right path. The Nevada Joint Union High School District Board of Trustees should immediately request Houlihan’s resignation, or he could do the right thing by resigning.

Jim Black lives in Lake Wildwood.


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