The Lakewood High football program was rocked by tragic news last Thursday after former head coach Jimmy Nolan’s family was involved in a fatal car crash. His wife Taran and three of their children were involved in a head-on collision in South Carolina. Their baby Micki didn’t survive and the other three are in the intensive care unit. The driver of the other car also died.
Nolan, who was in California with his daughter Paisley at the time of the crash, has been posting as many updates as he can on Facebook. The news has garnered national attention, and Sports Illustrated posted a story on its website.
The accident has brought together a community that was touched by the Nolan family over years of being involved with Southern California high school football. A GoFundMe was quickly created on Thursday and it raised more than $20,000 within the first two hours. As of Monday, it’s more than $300,000 and still climbing. Many former and current Lakewood Lancers were among the donors.
Nolan was at Lakewood from 2014 to 2016 and is currently coaching at Costa Mesa. He’s been at a handful of local schools where his children have been mainstays at practices and games.
The Nolan family was in the process of relocating to South Carolina, after Nolan finished coaching this season. He was on the phone with Taran when the accident occurred, and has been periodically updating friends and family on their condition. He posted video of Taran and Daisy in their hospital beds on Monday.
“God I wish it was me,” Nolan posted. “I’m done. The end. Over. Impossible. I thought I knew pain.”
Nolan came to Lakewood after taking a year off coaching to be with Taran during her pregnancy. She had suffered multiple miscarriages prior to Daisy’s birth on St. Patrick’s Day 2014.
Daisy, 11, had her breathing tube taken out on Sunday, according to Nolan’s post, and she’s making “tremendous strides” towards recovery. She has several skull fractures but can speak and interact. She and Jimmy, 10, also suffered burns but his condition is improving and he could be released from the hospital this week. Doctors are most concerned with Taran’s spinal cord damage and bleeding in her brain. Nolan said she could be the hospital for a month before rehab.
Brittany Hinzo, who organized the GoFundMe page, has upped the goal to $500,000 because, “With months in ICU, physical rehab, Counseling/Therapy, etc. the mounting medical, therapy and other needs for the entire family will be growing. Thankful that all of us coming together can alleviate and support their finances through this.”
Nolan attended and played football at Mater Dei High and The University of Utah. After assisting with the Mater Dei and Fountain Valley football programs, Nolan took his first head coaching job at Cantwell Sacred Heart where they hadn’t won a game in two years.
“I love being the underdog,” Nolan said. “I’m always looking for the teams that need the most help.”
Nolan also had head coaching jobs at Laguna Beach and Compton Centennial where he was named Press-Telegram Coach of the Year after his first season. After one season at Carson he stepped down in order to care for Taran.
The Nolan Family, organized by Brittany Hinzo
Our beloved Nolan Family needs our help right now. Thursday morning, Taran and three of their four children Micki, Daisy and Jimmy were in a horrific car accident. Their youngest baby Micki did not survive. Daisy, Jimmy and Taran are in very critical condition in South Carolina.