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KTVL CBS Channel 10 :: News - Friday Night Football - Nagel joins SOU's Offensive Coaching Staff

Nagel joins SOU's Offensive Coaching Staff

ASHLAND – The Southern Oregon football team is incorporating a new member into its offense during the first week of practice as long-time Ashland High School head coach Jim Nagel joins the SOU staff as an offensive assistant.

Nagel ended a nine-year stint as an assistant at NCAA Div. III powerhouse Linfield College last season, returning to the Rogue Valley that he has called home for the past 30 years. While retirement may have been Nagel's initial plan, third-year SOU head coach Craig Howard had other ideas.

“He'd heard that I was no longer coaching at Linfield, called me up and invited me over for a talk and asked if I had any interest in continuing coaching and joining the staff,” Nagel said. “I've talked to a few people around town, and everybody had nothing but positive things to say about the coaching staff, about the players and about the fact that they were a class act and probably something that I'd like to be involved with.”

Nagel became a local legend as head coach at Ashland High School from 1983-2002, leading the Grizzlies to 16 consecutive postseason appearances, five state championship game appearances and state titles in 1989, '91 and '98. He also served as the school's athletic director from 1991-04 before retiring and taking the quarterbacks coaching job at Linfield.

“I had the great fortune of being at Ashland with some great gentlemen that I had on my coaching staff and some great young men that played for me,” Nagel said. “We had a pretty good run of success over the 20 years I was there, and I enjoyed the heck out of that and just kind of got to the point where I thought it was time to step down and move on to other things.”

At Linfield Nagel helped elevate a storied football program to even greater heights, calling the Wildcats' plays from the press box as the team led all of NCAA Div. III in scoring in 2004 and 2005 and setting numerous team passing records in the greatest offensive stretch in team history.

That might sound familiar to Raider fans who witnessed Austin Dodge (Vancouver, Wash./Skyview) and SOU's aerial assault on virtually every team offensive record in 2012. Nagel coached Linfield's version of Dodge in transfer Brett Elliott, who joined the Wildcats in 2004 after two years at Utah and set a national collegiate football record with 61 touchdown passes while leading LC to the 2004 Div. III national championship.

Dodge threw for a school-record 42 touchdowns and 5,076 yards in 12 games last season and has two years of eligibility remaining at SOU. Nagel had a chance to witness Dodge and the SOU offense in their coming-out party on Oct. 6, when the team broke through for 706 total yards and 51 first-half points in a 68-22 blowout of No. 24 Eastern Oregon.

“I had the opportunity to watch the Raiders play Eastern Oregon when we had a bye week and was extremely impressed with them,” Nagel said.

With SOU's top five receivers all graduating – along with 1,300-yard rusher Manny Barragan (Yreka, Calif./Yreka) – the offensive coaches will focus on grooming replacements for All-American Cole McKenzie (Red Bluff, Calif./Red Bluff) and Patrick Donahue (Los Angeles, Calif./Franklin). Nagel will work to develop tight end Clay Sierra (La Crescenta, Calif./Crescenta Valley), who is the Raiders' top returning receiving threat after catching 24 passes for 329 yards and five touchdowns last year.

Nearly 35 years after Nagel first came to the Rogue Valley to interview for the SOU head coaching job, which eventually went to Chuck Mills, he is happy to be able to stay in Ashland year-round while continuing to coach collegiately.

“Nine years of being a migrant worker was enough,” Nagel said. During his tenure at Linfield he spent the fall and spring in McMinnville while his wife stayed in Ashland, where he returned for summer and winter.

The last time Nagel stepped into a collegiate offensive assistant position with a record-breaking quarterback, his team won a national title. A few months removed from Southern Oregon's fourth NAIA National Quarterfinals appearance, a heartbreaking overtime loss and a No. 5 final national ranking, another opportunity to win a championship is clearly the goal for the Raiders this spring and fall. With three high school state titles and the 2004 NCAA Div. III national title on his resume, Nagel hopes to be a part of the same level of success at Southern Oregon.

“You know, I've got one of those national championship rings, and they're really nice,” Nagel said. “I'd like to see an NAIA national championship added to my collection here with the Raiders. That's my goal and objective, to help the program as best I can.”

The Raiders' spring practice schedule features three practices per week, from 4-6 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Mondays' and Wednesdays' sessions are at US Cellular Community Park in Medford, with Fridays' practices at SOU. Southern Oregon's first scrimmage of the spring will be this Saturday beginning at 8:30 a.m. at Medford's Spiegelberg Stadium.
Nagel joins SOU's Offensive Coaching Staff

Thursday, April 11 2013, 06:10 PM CDT

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