New Sierra College football coach has ‘some big shoes to fill'
Ben Noonan, like most college football coaches, is used to moving around.
But the latest — and biggest — move for the new head football coach at Sierra College has been the toughest.
After being hired in February, Noonan moved his then-pregnant wife and son, Ben Jr., to their hometown of Santa Rosa from Southern California.
Noonan then came to Rocklin alone to settle in, find a home and start a new chapter of his life and in Wolverine football.
After four months of late nights in the office and two-hour weekend treks to see the family and his newborn daughter, Noonan will welcome his family into town this weekend.
“Moving in this Saturday, I am excited to get the family back together,” Noonan said. “We have a 5-week-old baby girl, got a 3-year-old son and my wife is two hours away, so I only get to see them on the weekends.
“So yeah, I am very excited to get the family back together. It’s been tough. It’s been a challenge, but it allows you to work late hours.”
Noonan also has the task of replacing a legend at Sierra following the retirement of Jeff Tisdel after 12 years as the head coach and 13 years total teaching at the community college. Tisdel also had an impressive 37-game win streak from 2002-05.
“The transition has been really well,” Noonan said. “Coach Tisdel did a heck of a job and those are definitely some big shoes to fill. He has built this place.”
Luckily, Tisdel is not too far off if Noonan needs his advice. Despite stepping down as the football coach, Tisdel remains on staff at Sierra as a physical education teacher.
“I’ve leaned on him a couple of times,” Noonan said. “His office is right down the hall from mine. He is very forthcoming and gives me very straight-forward answers to any questions I ask him.”
After four years as the offensive coordinator at Citrus College in Glendora, Noonan is familiar with the two-year college system.
But after gigs as an assistant coach at Baylor, West Texas A&M, Texas A&M Kingsville and Alabama State, Noonan’s biggest challenge is realizing the difference from assistant to head coaching.
“The football part of it is great,” Noonan said. “A lot of times as a head coach, I am finding out you don’t do a whole lot of football. You are dealing more with the kids off the field, making sure the grades are right and all of the other aspects it takes to run a football program.”
For Sierra, Noonan said there will be no change in the defensive philosophy for the program as long-time defensive coordinator Edward Eaton remains on staff.
Noonan will implement a no-huddle, spread attack on offense and will run the offense with help of assistant coach Jeff Remington, who left his head coaching position at Natomas High School last month to become the offensive line coach at Sierra. Remington is a former assistant coach at Sacramento State.
Sierra begins its season at Sacramento City College on Sept. 7 and the home opener is on Sept. 14 against Feather River College.
With just 14 returnees from the 5-6 Sierra squad that lost to San Mateo in the Bothman Bulldog Bowl in November, Noonan is confident that his team will have one strong trait — discipline.
“Expect the two things we can control — attitude and effort,” Noonan said. “They can expect our kids to act right and give great effort.”