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Former Steelers LB Hardy Nickerson Accepts High School Coaching Gig



Former Pittsburgh Steelers’ linebacker Hardy Nickerson is returning to the high school coaching scene after signing a deal to become head coach at Bishop O’Dowd (California). Nickerson previously coached at Bishop O’Dowd from 2010-13.

Since retiring from the NFL in 2002, Nickerson has bounced across all three levels of football (professional, collegiate and high school) as a coach for various organizations. He most recently served as the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach for Illinois from 2016-18.

His first job in coaching came five years after his retirement with the Chicago Bears as linebackers coach in 2007. He was a linebackers coach on three different occasions in the NFL with the Bears, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2014-15) and San Francisco 49ers (2016).

Nickerson spent 16 seasons in the NFL after being drafted by the Steelers in the fifth round of the 1987 NFL Draft. He was only with the Steelers until 1992, and his career didn’t really take off until his first season with the Buccaneers in 1993. That year, he made his first Pro Bowl and All-Pro First Team of his career. Nickerson was named to five Pro Bowls and four All-Pro teams in his 16 seasons.

A member of the 1990 NFL All-Decade Team, Nickerson compiled 1,586 total tackles in his career. He also had 21 sacks, 12 interceptions and 14 fumble recoveries while forcing 19 fumbles. In addition to the Steelers (1987-92) and Buccaneers (1993-99), he had stints with the Jacksonville Jaguars (2000-01) and Green Bay Packers (2002).

Notably, he is a winner of the Byron “Whizzer” White NFL Man of the Year Award in 1997. The award, now called the NFLPA Alan Page Community Award (APC), is the NFLPA’s version of the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. Voted on by the players, the APC is awarded to the NFL player who best serves his community.

Bishop O’Dowd is well-known around the country as a football powerhouse and its’ time previously under Nickerson, that reputation was well-earned. During his first tenure as head coach, Nickerson led Bishop O’Dowd to two league titles and had 20 players receive college scholarships.

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