View Original Notice ? Long Beach Jordan hires Jon Nielsen as its new football coach

LONG BEACH — Jon Nielsen, a former professional quarterback, believes he’s the right coach to take Long Beach Jordan football to the next level on and off the field.

Nielsen, a 1991 graduate of Cerritos High, has been hired as Jordan’s new football coach, according to the school’s athletic director Lamar Biffle. Nielsen replaces Tim Wedlow, who was recently let go by school officials after leading the Panthers to the school’s first-ever CIF Southern Section Division 11 championship game in November.

“We appreciate Tim (Wedlow’s) time,” said Biffle. “We’re very excited about Jon Nielsen.”

Nielsen, who works in the sports and entertainment industry as a lifestyle marketer and brand manager, is eager to get started.

“The reason why I wanted this job was that I’m at a point in my life where things aligned the right way with what I do professionally, where my kids are at athletically, I’m able to put that time commitment in,” Nielsen explained. “Where before I couldn’t commit to being a head coach because it’s not just coaching, it’s being a fundraiser, a marketing guy, all those different things, so now the time is right for this.”

Nielsen began his college football career at Fresno State, transferred to Long Beach City College and graduated from Claremont McKenna College.

He played professional football for six years, with a career that began in 1996 with a brief stint with the NFL’s Oakland Raiders in training camp. He also spent time in the Arena Football League, Canadian Football League and the XFL.

“I’ve been a journeyman quarterback,” Nielsen shared. “I’ve played in every professional league except NFL Europe during my career.”

Locally, Nielsen has worked as an assistant high school football coach at Gahr, Cerritos and St. Paul. He said various life experiences have taught him the importance of mentorship, something he’s excited to do at Jordan.

“I’ve gone in for decades and talked to at-risk kids about goal setting, time management,” Nielsen said. “I’ve never really stopped being a mentor… What I do professionally, I do marketing and lifestyle marketing for athletes and clothing brands. I’m that guy who does a bunch of different things in the industry.”

“I’m basically taking the blueprint of what I do professionally and transitioning that over to Long Beach Jordan… I work on NIL deals for athletes in college, I’ve worked with Power 5 coaches and a bunch of different sports. Everything I do professionally is similar to what I can do at the high school level.”

Nielsen said his clients include Boyz II Men and he currently mentors two former Gahr High football stars, Dwayne Washington and Josh Perkins, who both play in the NFL.

“When (Gahr) was in its heyday, we were churning out Division I athletes, three or four a year,” Nielsen continued. “Anybody who has played for me will tell you it’s not just on the football field and that’s it. It’s a lifetime relationship and that’s why my two kids that are in the NFL, I still work with them and mentor them.”

Dwayne Washington, Josh Perkins go from Gahr High to NFL

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Football philosophy

Under his leadership, Nielsen said, the Panthers will have a run-and-shoot-style offense, which he calls spread and shred, and it will feature a run-pass option.

He said an example of how effective his offense can be were when his nephews, Corey Nielsen and Casey Nielsen, each threw for more than 4,300 passing yards at Gahr in 2007 and 2010, respectively.

On defense, Jordan will run multiple fronts under defensive coordinator Paul Guidry, who graduated from Gahr in 1993 and played defensive back at UCLA. Nielsen also played in the NFL and CFL.

“I’m bringing coaches who are not only good coaches but good role models,” Nielsen said referring to Guidry and the rest of his coaching staff.

“I think that any coach that coaches at any level, when you have former players and former coaches that want to come back and coach with you, I think that’s the biggest sign of respect. My whole staff is going to be people who have played for me or coached with me.”

Meanwhile, Nielsen said he will also work tirelessly to promote his student-athletes and help them earn scholarships.

“I would put my Rolodex up against anybody in the state of California, as far as who I have access to and who listens to my recommendation,” Nielsen said. “That separates me from what anybody else does.”