Nevada Union High promotes Sparks to head football coach

I received this email from Jeff Dellis:

Good morning,

Nevada Union is pleased to announce the appointment of Brad Sparks as the new head football coach.

Coach Sparks brings strong experience with coaching stops at Marysville High School (17 years) and Yuba College (one year). Sparks was formerly the head coach at Marysville High School before moving to Nevada Union in 2012. He has been both the Frosh head coach and a Varsity assistant coach at NU.

“We’ve hired an incredible football coach that always has the best interest of kids in mind,” said Athletic Director Jeff Dellis. “He has experience at the high school level. He has a great ability to communicate. Kids love him. He’s a perfect fit for what we’re trying to accomplish here.”

Sparks is currently working on his bachelor’s degree at National University. He is employed at Nevada Union as a paraeducator.

“Brad can help our students reach their full potential. He has a deep appreciation for the balances that are required for student-athletes, We’re fortunate to hire a coach that brings the total package.” said Dellis.

“We will be looking for athletes who are good citizens, educationally oriented and good team players,” Brad Sparks said, in describing his teaching and coaching philosophy. “Being successful is the end product achieved by doing the right things on a daily basis. There are no shortcuts.”

“Brad Sparks has the drive and passion for student athletes and the vision to make Hooper Stadium a place to be under the lights on Friday nights” “We are extremly excited to have Brad as the head coach and I am looking forward to an incredible season of Miner Football,” said Principal Kelly Rhoden.


Miners Rising

Jeff Dellis

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

16 thoughts on “Nevada Union High promotes Sparks to head football coach”

  1. Barry Pruett says nobody reads my blog but he has come here again, this time to say: “Brad Sparks is the bomb.” Thanks Barry.

    1. Now Pruett writes to tell us he had the “scoop” but it was embargoed. Perhaps the Pride Of Harvey ought to call The Union, because his favorite newspaper doesn’t have the news posted — still. lol.

      1. Stop the presses! Hold your breath (not “breathe,” Todd)! Drum roll please! The new NU head coach — Mr. Brad Sparks — was …. at Barry Pruett’s house last night, Barry has just informed me. I have contacted the Sac Bee to see if they can fit it onto Page 1A for tomorrow’s edition. Thank you Barry!

  2. Glad they were finally able to make the hire and I wish both him and the program nothing but good things. I’m sure reducing the headcount via the excision of Ghidotti from the enrollment stats and the consequent move to a smaller league will be a huge boost. Call me a cynic, but I can’t help but wonder what NU pays a paraeducator without a college degree to coach and how it compares to standard teacher salaries. I hope it’s not out of line with what credentialed and degreed educators are making. That aside, Go Miners!

    1. A “huge boost”? You mean beating Shingle Springs in football instead of losing to Jesuit? Smaller league (AKA “weaker competition”) means lower odds for Division 1 athletic scholarships for the NU student-athletes, and the Ghidotti students — whose statewide test scores rank #1 in the state, a tangible economic development asset around here — don’t get to participate in CIF sports. No, it’s more like a “survival plan” to cope with declining enrollment. How disappointing.

      1. All I meant by “huge boost” is that NU will have a better chance at being competitive in a league populated by schools with enrollments that more closely match their own, not just in football, but across the board.
        I certainly share your disappointment in the loss of athletics for the Ghidotti kids. That decision was short-sighted and will inevitably have a chilling effect on enrollment at what is one of the real jewels for our area, as you point out.
        Your argument regarding the availability of Division I athletic scholarships for NU kids competing in the Foothill Valley League is a reach. Those scholarships are extremely few and far between to start with, regardless of the school a kid attends or the league in which they compete. It’s also not as if NU has been awash in them in the SFL, either.
        As a society, we spend too much time angling for athletic scholarships and not enough time doing the classwork that would help us succeed once we do get to college. Most athletic scholarships these days are partial, extremely front-loaded, and hide a huge amount of follow-on debt for those kids who carry on for four years. I’ve had more than one family friend have what was billed as an athletic scholarship morph into a millstone of debt by the time junior year rolled around. Sometimes you gotta be careful what you wish for!

      2. “Smaller league (AKA “weaker competition”) means lower odds for Division 1 athletic scholarships ”

        Umm….No. No one gets drafted or plays college based on where they went to school. If you’re good enough, (big enough, strong enough, fast enough) they will find you. The professional, collegiate/high school networks are so vast, that it is incomprehensible that someone would be overlooked. Being overlooked makes great Disney movies and that’s about it. People get paid to find talent.

  3. I guess it depends on the perspective and experience. And “competitive” and “winning” is relative. Two of our nephews received full rides to college on athletic scholarships from NU when it competed in the SFL without “angling” — one in Division 1 and the other in Division 2. Both got good college educations that might not have occurred otherwise. The chances for those opportunities are diminished now that NU is in the FVL. Ghidotti remains a gem despite the school district’s self-inflected wound, but I can understand some Ghidotti parents’ frustration at the office politics. Other options exist for sports — some of which are better options, such as club leagues. But that shouldn’t have to happen. Thanks for the comments!

    1. I disagree. Your nephews would have been on radars regardless if they went to NU. In fact, one was drafted by the Houston Astros which I think he should have looked into.

      1. Along those lines, the Raiders selected a kid from Roseville. 6’9, 350lbs. Do you think Roseville High had anything to do with that?

      2. Yes. Size is one factor. The coaches at Roseville High helped develop Kolton Miller into a great athlete, not just a big guy. He played in a highly competitive league that receives lots of visibility.
        Roseville High also has a high-school sports legacy in other sports:
        And check out the sports alumni:
        Evelyn Ashford – five-time medalist in the 100-meter and 4 × 100 m relay and track athlete at five Olympic Games
        Dave Berg – seven-year MLB infielder
        Robbie Bosco – quarterback for BYU during the 1984 and 1985 seasons, and Heisman trophy candidate.
        Tedy Bruschi – linebacker for the New England Patriots and ESPN analyst.
        Rodney Hannah – tight end for the Dallas Cowboys
        Scott Pruett – NASCAR Driver/Racer
        Kolton Miller – Oakland Raiders Offensive Tackle
        Jordan Kunaszyk – Cal Berkeley Linebacker
        (Source: Wikipedia)

      3. You forgot Roseville grad, Stanford RB and long time NU coach/teacher Sig Ostrom 😉

  4. Again, I disagree. Yes, there are schools (particularly private schools) that have a disproportionate number of gifted athletes. My point is, it’s not the school or the program, per se, as it is the athlete. Those schools have more recruits, not because of the program or the coach, but because the better athletes choose to go there. Or in larger schools, there is a larger pool of players. In public schools, you educate who walks in the door.

    I discount the idea of a “pipeline” based solely on a school. I don’t think any NFL players from Notre Dame play because they went to Notre Dame. The idea that a player is promoted or hindered because of the school or division they play in is ludicrous.

    1. The Ostroms!

      I would be careful about discounting these “pipelines,” which have existed for years. And the pipeline exists because of the coaches and programs, not just the athletes. They instill confidence in the recruiters that those athletes are well prepared.

      Again, you keep using absolute terms: I’m just saying the odds are lower.

      And guess what, it applies to academics too, not just athletics.

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