Jesse Nagle was named Bald Eagle Area’s football coach Thursday night.
The fifth-grade teacher at Wingate Elementary School was approved unanimously by the BEA board at its monthly meeting.
The 2000 Bald Eagle Area graduate joins the Eagle program after previously serving two years on the staff as the linebackers coach at State College under head coach Matt Lintal.
“He’s a good elementary teacher with a lot of passion,” BEA athletic director Doug Dyke said Thursday night. “He was at State College the last two years, so that gives him a whole different perspective.”
Nagle was one of seven men who interviewed for the position, with the discussions finishing Wednesday night. It meant a late addition to the board’s agenda for Thursday.
“It’s definitely something I’ve been wanting to do, that’s for sure,” said Nagle, who had also interviewed for the position two years ago.
He takes over for Ron Hoover, who stepped down for health reasons in December after two years leading the program. The Eagles were 3-17 under Hoover, including 1-9 last fall. It was Hoover’s second stint as head coach, also serving six seasons until 2001, with Nagle one of his former players.
Nagle played football, basketball and baseball at BEA, and also played football at Lock Haven, from which he received a degree in elementary education in 2005. He was a running back for one season for the Bald Eagles before a concussion halted his college career.
He has coached for the past 11 years at various levels in the BEA, State College and Bellefonte systems.
“Not everybody has the opportunity to coach their alma mater,” Nagle said. “It’s the only place I would be a head coach. I loved the other places, but when the job came open, it was a tough decision but I had to take a shot at it.”
The temptation to return to his old school was hard to resist.
“When you walk those halls, coach on that field, your heart never leaves,” said Nagle, who plans to roam those same halls to recruit students for the football team. “Teaching fifth grade, you make a lot of connections with kids. In this age of athletes, you have to have connections and build relationships with them.”