Former Fountain Valley High football coach Jimmy Nolan has been hired to lead the Costa Mesa football program, Mustangs co-athletic director Mike Ofer said Tuesday.
Nolan spent three years in charge at Fountain Valley before resigning in December, leading to the Barons to the CIF Southern Section playoffs the final two seasons. The Barons went 5-6 overall last season and placed fifth in the Sunset League with a 1-4 record.
At Costa Mesa, Nolan will take over for David Gutierrez, who was fired after one season. Costa Mesa went 0-10 last fall and was outscored by a combined 490-26.
“I saw the position was open and I saw that they had only scored 26 points the whole season combined,” said Nolan, a walk-on coach. “I thought, ‘I’d love that job,’ because it’s just fun for me. It’s very fulfilling for me preparing … I just really enjoy helping kids get better, teaching them how to work and how to prepare. It becomes, do I want to take a football job, try to get a really good football team, or do I want to take a life job? No matter what, I’m getting the same stipend, and I knew Costa Mesa would be something I would enjoy.”
Ofer said that Nolan impressed during interviews of eight candidates for the job at the beginning of February. Nolan also has coached at Montebello Cantwell-Sacred Heart, Laguna Beach, Compton Centennial, Carson and Lakewood, and has said before that he enjoys turning programs around.
“We were really looking for someone to energize our program after having a rough year last year, obviously, being 0-10,” Ofer said. “Jimmy’s name was available and he was interested in the job … Jimmy really stood out for us as the one who could really turn this around for us.
“His energy, his passion for the game is obvious. His love for kids and what he puts into it is second to none, so we’re really excited to have him.”
Nolan said he met with the Costa Mesa players last week and he felt like they were all-in.
“I do like Costa Mesa,” Nolan said. “Nowadays, the football culture has changed so much. Everyone gravitates toward the all-star teams and all the transfers going on. I don’t want to be any part of that right now. I just want to coach the game of football and teach kids to work hard. To me, in my world, there wasn’t a better opportunity than Costa Mesa.”