CLASS OF 2019: Two-sport star Brennan McFadden to be inducted into Nevada Union Athletics Hall of Fame
As far back as Brennan McFadden can remember he’s had a passion for sports.
“I can always remember having a ball in my hand, whether it was a basketball, football or baseball,” he said. “Sports in our town was a very big deal from a young age.”
As the son of a Nevada Union teacher, McFadden spent much of his time at the sports-crazed high school and looked up to the Miners athletes that came before him.
“I was literally raised at Nevada Union,” said McFadden, who often served as a ball boy for NU’s morning football P.E. class before heading off to grade school.
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When time came for him to don the blue and gold, he was a force to reckoned with and was a key member of several highly successful teams. For his efforts as a member of the NU basketball and football teams as well as his accomplishments after high school, McFadden will be inducted into the Nevada Union Athletics Hall of Fame April 27.
“It’s honestly the greatest achievement that I can have,” he said. “I am so grateful to be able to have gone through not only a program like that, but a school and a community that truly backed athletics in anyway it could. It was absolutely unbelievable what NU was able to do.”
McFadden said his first love was basketball and he was a three-year varsity player on the NU hoops team. During his three seasons on the team, he was a two-time All-Metro League First Team Selection and the Miners team MVP his senior year. NU won at least a share of the Metro League title each of McFadden’s three seasons.
On the football field, the then 265-pound McFadden was a dominant offensive lineman and tight end, who helped the Miners win the Metro League championship in 2003 and reach the Sac-Joaquin Section title game in 2004. He was a two-time All-Metro League First Teamer on the gridiron and was Nevada Union’s Albert Ali Award winner his senior year.
“His leadership and ability to connect with his teammates was special,” said Dave Humphers, who coached McFadden on the NU football team. “He was the glue that kept that team together. He was also a tremendous player for us.”
Fond memories of playing in front of a raucous student section on the basketball team and beating Grant with a last-minute trick play in football still remain with McFadden, but what sticks with him the most is the bonds he formed with his teammates.
“What I loved the most was just going through the grind with your boys,” said McFadden, who noted he still speaks daily with the friends he grew up playing alongside. “It was a unique situation where we truly became best friends because of sports, and how good of a time we had and the memories we made in high school. It was such a good time and our bonds are so strong.”
LIFE AFTER NU
After graduating from Nevada Union in 2005, McFadden accepted a scholarship to attend and play for Utah State.
He redshirted his first year then went on to be a four-year starter at guard and center. He was an All-WAC Second Team selection his junior year and was voted to be a team captain by his teammates his senior year. While at Utah State he was also a two-time Merlin Olsen Award winner, which goes to the Utah State player who shows great character and leadership on and off the field. After his senior season, After college, McFadden signed a free agent contract with the NFL’s Cleveland Browns.
After his playing days concluded, McFaddden didn’t stray too far from the game. For the past six years, he’s been the head coach of the football team at River Valley High School in Yuba City. Since taking over the program in 2014, his teams have made the playoffs four times.
“I definitely take the things I learned from coach Humphers and coach (Jeff) Dellis and the many coaches and mentors I had along the way, and implement them into my program,” said McFadden. “If you do it the right way, which coach Humphers and coach Dellis did, it was about life lessons. They never lowered their standards, because what they were teaching wasn’t about winning a league championship, it was about teaching kids to be productive people in society.”
McFadden and Humphers are currently co-head coaches at River Valley and have been for the past two seasons.
“It ain’t about me. It’s about these kids and we’re going to be more successful in our mission with Dave Humphers on the sideline with me,” said McFadden, who is being inducted into the NU Hall of Fame along with Humphers. “I’m learning so much from him. It’s special to be able to do this with a man I love and someone who helped shape the man I’ve become.”
McFadden, who currently lives in Yuba City with his wife Risa and their 2-year old daughter, said he’s extremely grateful for his parents Louise and Francis as well as his sister Robin Black for all their love and support along the way. He’s also said he’s very appreciative of the community he grew up in and the opportunity to play at Nevada Union.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email email@example.com.
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