The562’s coverage of Jordan Athletics is sponsored by John Ross, Class of 2013
Coming off of an historic season, the Jordan High administration has selected its next football coach, as veteran offensive guru Jon Nielsen will take over in North Long Beach.
Nielsen had a record-setting stint running his offense at Gahr High, and the Cerritos native said he’s excited to get to Jordan and bring his brand of spread run and shoot football.
“My first speech to the kids is just, ‘Protect the North,’” said Nielsen. “It’s for the North. The plan is to make Jordan a destination and not a stepping stone, so it’s all about defending the home turf and giving the community some pride in what we do, and keeping the kids at home.”
Nielsen’s teams have put up monster offensive numbers everywhere he’s gone, with nephews Casey and Corey Nielsen both in the CIF-SS record books for passing for more than 4,300 yards in a single season. But he said that his biggest strength as a coach isn’t X’s and O’s, it’s who he knows.
“What I really bring to the table is the relationships,” he said. “It’s all about recruiting and relationships and my relationships run strong with a lot of these coaches. I bring a level of credibility right away.”
Nielsen grew up in Cerritos and played at Cerritos High, but rose to local prominence as a coach while running the offense at Gahr for 14 years. After experiencing burnout, Nielsen stepped away from coaching at the high school level and focused on coaching his kids’ team, building a successful travel softball program before deciding the time was right to make a return to the high school level at Jordan.
“I’m at a point in my life where I can invest back, basically bringing a Division 1 college staff with me,” he said. “Everyone who’s on my staff coached with me or played with me, it’s great to have people who want to give back.”
Nielsen said his focus won’t be on running the offense, but on building the Jordan program from the ground up. The Panthers are stocked with young talent and recently made a trip to their first-ever CIF-SS championship football game.
“I have probably four people on staff that can run the offense, so I’m focusing on trying to brand build and market the program to the community,” he said. “I’m going to be in the streets fundraising, getting people excited about J-Town football. That’s fun–it’s excitement. They had success last year and the job now is to take it to the next level.”
The new Panthers coach has high expectations for his team and said he’s looking forward to opening eyes and turning heads in 2022.