Former Charger Novak prepares for first prep football season as head coach

Sports

SAN DIEGO — A Poway native and former NFL kicker has returned to the field, this time as Maranatha Christian High School’s head football coach.

“It feels like an NFL training camp, having some fun,” Nick Novak said. “Today was good for us. A lot of guys are hitting for the first time, full pads against the opposite color jersey.”

The 39-year-old kicked for 11 seasons in the NFL, including four with the Chargers – and yes, Novak’s team remembers his NFL playing days well.

“It’s really cool to have somebody that you actually saw on TV when you were younger and then now have him as your coach,” wide receiver and defensive back Jack Amodeo said.

“A lot of them played Nintendo and PS4 with me, so they always say they used me for fantasy and things like that,” Novak said. “They always like to mess with me and call me the old man but it’s alright.”

Having been the special teams coach for the Eagles the last two years, Novak said taking on this new role just made sense.

“Just trying to be the best leader I can,” Novak said. “I got a great coaching staff, so just coming to the field everyday together, just working towards a common goal, one game at a time.”

He’s only been a head coach for some months now but the former NFL kicker says he’s already working to instill lessons both on and off the field.

“I’m trying to get through to the guys to spend time off the field,” Novak said. “You have to love each other. You have to play together. You’re not going to win a championship or a state championship if you’re not together like that as a team.”

Novak said he’s been talking to and sharing huddle videos with his former Chargers teammate Stephen Cooper, who is also a first time head coach in the area.

“It’s a surreal experience honestly, having an NFL player be your coach,” center and defensive tackle Braden Tharp said. “It’s really taken our team and practices and just the whole environment to the next level and I feel like we’re getting ready to make some big steps here and just get an all-around team and better quality practices.”

As for Novak’s future goals, he didn’t rule out coaching at the collegiate level or in the NFL and said he’s open to any opportunity.

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