After months of waiting, high-profile first-year SoCal high school coaches get to compete

Hueneme first-year coach Jon Mack with his players and the words "Hueneme Return of the Viking Football."
Hueneme first-year coach Jon Mack, who had been restricted to video calls with his players since March, will finally make his coaching debut against Camarillo.

It’s been an agonizing wait for three high-profile first-year high school football coaches to finally get the chance to step onto the field as head coaches.

Jon Mack of Hueneme, Joe McNab of Sherman Oaks Notre Dame and Manuel Douglas of St. Bernard will make their coaching debuts in games this week.

Mack, who had great success at St. Bonaventure and Crespi, is one of those coaches who uses repetition to teach his players. The twice-delayed season and an inability to work with players on the field for months while relying on Zoom calls has been particularly difficult for him.

“This will be the biggest challenge putting it together,” he said weeks ago.


But he has accepted the job at hand and intends to do his best to make his seniors feel satisfied starting with an opening game against Camarillo on Friday.

McNab spent 38 years as an assistant to Kevin Rooney at Notre Dame. He also was an interim head coach for several games when Rooney was unavailable. But Friday’s opener against Alemany is when he’ll be taking full credit or full blame, right?

“I’m nauseous,” he said jokingly.

Former Narbonne coach directs St. Bernard against Sierra Canyon on Friday.

March 16, 2021

Mack said during the summer of uncertainty that McNab had it better than him.

“Joe has a tremendous advantage,” he said. “He knows the kids. I know names on a computer screen.”

Douglas hasn’t coached since 2018 when he was at Narbonne. He has 41 sophomores and freshmen whom he’ll be playing at St. Bernard and intends to use the abbreviated spring season to prepare for the fall. His team faces the toughest opener, playing Friday at Sierra Canyon, which played well last week against St. John Bosco.