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'Stars aligned' for Eric Weddle to take high school coaching gig

Eric Weddle
Mark J. Terrill / AP
Los Angeles Rams defensive back Eric Weddle (20) congratulates teammates during the second half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Arizona Cardinals in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022.

Pro Bowler Eric Weddle surprised everyone earlier this year when he came out of retirement to play for the Los Angeles Rams in the postseason.

Weddle said the opportunity was too good to pass up.

"When the stars aligned in the sense to be here in this moment, I couldn't live with myself if I didn't take that chance," he told reporters in a Feb. 12, 2022, news conference.


And the stars aligned again as Rancho Bernardo High School (RB) coach Tristan McCoy was thinking of stepping down from the football program. He started entertaining the idea last year.

He told RB athletic director Tracy Stowe he "probably had about two or three more years left."

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As it happens, Weddle was coaching McCoy’s son in Pop Warner Football. The two had known each other for many years, but this gave McCoy a chance to see Weddle’s coaching style.

“He and I had some conversations after the season about his future plans and what he would like to do," McCoy said. "He kind of intimated to me that he would very much like to continue to coach.”


The dots started to connect, and McCoy thought this might be the time and place to transition out of his head coaching role.

In January, Weddle interviewed for the job before the Rams enticed him back to the gridiron. It was a whirlwind two months for the star safety.

He won the Super Bowl on Feb. 13 and that following Saturday, the Broncos announced he would be their next coach.

The news caught everyone by surprise, including the players.

“It was just speculation at first,” said Lucas Richmond, Broncos defensive back. "And just the concept of having someone that you idolized growing up becoming a head coach, I think it's a pretty rare and cool opportunity."

Richmond is a junior at RB High and next year will be his final prep season. He said he's excited for the upcoming season.

"I think it's a very rare and exciting opportunity to have someone that successful influencing us every single day and bringing that energy to make us work harder," Richmond said.

For Weddle, having played at the highest level of football, coaching young players was a steep learning curve. When he was coaching his son's Pop Warner football team, many of the kids had never played tackle football before.

"How are we going to get the best out of these kids? How we're going to teach them? How we're going to coach them? How are we going to be patient with them?" Weddle said. "And just seeing it from a different lens.”

McCoy saw how Weddle adapted his approach, changed his messaging and figured out a way to reach the kids. Weddle coached the Rancho Bernardo U12 team all the way to the 2021 West Coast Conference Championship.

"I think you just can see in his temperament and his love for the kids and his desire to help them reach their potential and succeed that it's just going to translate," McCoy said.

McCoy will continue coaching the upcoming 2022 football season while Weddle learns the ropes. Weddle will officially take over in 2023.