NFL alum Hardy Nickerson won two league titles when he was head coach at Bishop O’Dowd High School a dozen years ago.

The former Pro Bowl linebacker has coached on the NFL and collegiate levels since his winning days at Bishop O’Dowd in Oakland, California. His most recent position was at the University of Illinois where he was head coach Lovie Smith’s defensive coordinator from 2016-18.

However, the opportunity to return to coaching teenage athletes on the high school level proved too appealing to turn down. It was announced last month that Nickerson has returned to his old coaching role at Bishop O’Dowd, effective immediately.

O’Dowd has had a well-earned reputation as a national powerhouse in recent decades. The school has had at least a dozen student-athletes later sign NFL contracts, including Super Bowl champions Tarik Glenn (SB XLI with Colts) and Eric Bjornson (SB XXX with Cowboys).

The 56-year-old Nickerson had a stellar 16-season playing career in the NFL after being drafted by the Steelers in 1987. He later played with the Bucs, Jaguars, and Packers before retiring in 2002. He was a five-time Pro Bowler and was named to the NFL’s 1990s All Decade Team. Nickerson also earned the NFLPA’s Man of the Year Award for his community work in 1997.

We at NFL Alumni salute Hardy Nickerson and all of you who coach our great sport and teach at the high school level. Mentoring young people is one of the most rewarding ways to give back to our fans and their young families for all the support we received from them when we played in the league.