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NFL Legend Hardy Nickerson Returns as Head Coach at Bishop O'Dowd

After nearly a decade away from high school coaching, Hardy Nickerson is back as the head football coach at Bishop O'Dowd High School in Oakland, California.

The school announced the return of the former NFL linebacker on Wednesday. Nickerson served as the Dragons head coach from 2010 through 2013. During those four seasons, Nickerson led the program to a 29-17 record with back-to-back Hayward Area Athletic League championships in 2010 and 2011.

Nickerson played with four NFL teams during a 16-year NFL career. The linebacker was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the fifth round of the 1987 NFL Draft. Nickerson reached five Pro Bowls as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and also played for the Jacksonville Jaguars and Green Bay Packers during his career. In 225 NFL games, Nickerson recorded 1,586 tackles with 21 sacks and 12 interceptions.

As a coach, Nickerson also served as a linebackers coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2014-2015) and the San Francisco 49ers in 2015. The last time he coached was in 2018, when he was the defensive coordinator at the University of Illinois under current Houston Texans head coach Lovie Smith.

During his high school days, Nickerson played at Verbum Dei High School in Los Angeles. As a linebacker and center, he led the school to back-to-back CIF-Southern Section championships. During a 25-game win streak, Nickerson was part of a defense that held 13 opponents scoreless.

Photo: AP/Joe Robbins


  • NFL Players and Legends
  • High School Football
  • Coaching