St. Bernard coach Manuel Douglas returns to football field for first time since 2018

 Manuel Douglas at a desk with his hands folded.
Manuel Douglas is head coach at St. Bernard.
(Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

It’s comeback time for Manuel Douglas, who enjoyed great success at Narbonne and will make his first coaching appearance since 2018 when he directs St. Bernard against host Sierra Canyon on Friday.

Douglas’ last football game was the state bowl game against San Diego Cathedral Catholic in 2018. He was suspended and reassigned as coach in 2019 during a Los Angeles Unified School District investigation into alleged academic misconduct before finally leaving Narbonne and LAUSD in 2020. He took over at St. Bernard in February 2020 just before the pandemic shut down programs.

“This is spring ball,” Douglas said. “In the scrimmage we had, we played every quarterback. I have a couple seniors that are playing that don’t have offers that have a chance to get on the field. Other than that, it’s about playing the young players. My whole thing is we are trying to win games in August.”

Douglas said he has 41 sophomores and freshmen who will be seeing action. Two of them are quarterbacks Darius Curry and Jason Mitchell. They will be behind senior Jackson Dadich, who led Birmingham to the 2019 City Section Open Division championship.


“We’re playing everyone and it’s fun,” Douglas said. “Whatever time we have out there, it’s a blessing because so many people lost their lives and livelihoods. Everybody has been through a lot.”