Coach Noonan earned his M.S. in Kinesiology in 2004 from Texas A&M University of Kingsville, Texas and his B.A. in English in 2000 from Bemidji State University in Minnesota. He began his career in higher education at Santa Rosa Junior College, where he earned his AA in 1998. Ben’s coaching experience is impressive—at age 26 he was offensive coordinator at West Texas A&M (NCAA Div. II) for a football team ranked #10 in the nation. His offense set several school records during his tenure there.
After two years at West Texas he left for Baylor University (NCAA Div. I), where as a graduate assistant he served as the Quarterbacks coach; he moved to Alabama State University (NCAA Div. IAA) following that to serve as their Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks coach for one year.
From 2009-2012 he served as Assistant Coach/Offensive Coordinator/Physical Education Instructor at Citrus College. During his four years as the offensive coordinator there, Noonan’s quarterbacks set school records for yards, completions and touchdowns.
For the second time in his first three years at the helm, Noonan guided Sierra College to a bowl berth as the 2015 season saw Sierra College victorious over host Fresno City College in the State Center Bowl. The Bowl victory marks the first win in the post season since 2008. Sierra players garnered several awards including 6 All-Conference, 4 All-State, and 2 All-American selections.
Under his direction in 2013, Sierra’s football team enjoyed its first winning season since 2009, earning a bowl berth in the San Francisco Community College Bowl. Sierra players garnered several awards including 10 All-Conference, 4 All-Region, and 3 All-State selections. Sierra Football also produced during its 2013 season the Valley Conference Defensive Most Valuable Player. Ninty percent of Wolverine Football sophomores last year will transfer to 4-year universities, and under Ben’s leadership Sierra’s football student athletes have been involved in several community service projects.
Coach Noonan is as passionate and competitive about his students’ academics as he is about their performance as athletes. He has vowed to increase both his team’s GPA and the team transfer rate each year, and cites “academic excellence” at the top of his list of objectives he seeks to instill in his students and student athletes.
Ed Eaton has been a familiar fixture roaming the Wolverine sidelines for the past 13 years as Sierra’s defensive coordinator. He was Sierra’s interim head coach during the 2006 and 2010 seasons, guiding the Wolverines to the Silicon Valley Bowl in 2006. Known for his intensity and in-game adjustments, Eaton’s defenses are similarly relentless, athletic and hard-hitting. In 2013, a pair of Wolverine defenders, Zack Starnes and Austin Wyatt-Thayer, received All-California and All-America honors, while Wyatt-Thayer, Michael Saulter, Vince Gibbs and Erik McKinnon were named to the All-Valley 1st team. Starnes was named the Valley Defensive Player of the Year. Eaton grew up in the Silicon Valley, where he attended and played football at Fremont High School (1986-89), De Anza College (1989-90) and San Jose St. (1991). He joined Jeff Tisdel’s staff in 2001 and has been the DC and recruiting coordinator ever since. Eaton and his wife Gina have two sons, future Wolverines Nick and Christian.
Jim Gray joined Ben Noonan’s staff in 2013 as the running backs coach after 28 years of football coaching experience at multiple levels. Gray played football, track, basketball and baseball at Douglas High School in Rapid City, SD. After graduating in 1980, he played for four years at South Dakota St. and, in 1985, tried out for the NFL’s Miami Dolphins and the USFL’s Arizona Wranglers. A Supervising Probation Officer for Sacramento County (1986-present), Gray has coached at Yuba College (1986-87), Del Campo HS (1987-90), Bella Vista HS (1990-95), the Placer HS Jr. Hillmen (1997-2006), and Placer HS (2006-13). In 2013 at Sierra, Coach Gray coached the versatile Calvin Burns to the All-Valley Conference 1st team. Jim and Juli live in Auburn with children Michael, Conor, Ryan, Collin, Parker and Alex.
Sierra’s offense moves the ball, using a variety of receiver-oriented sets designed to keep defenses guessing and on their heels. Mentoring the receiving corps is Daniel Diaz-Romero, who enters his second year on Ben Noonan’s staff. Diaz-Romero grew up in Half Moon Bay and played football at UC Davis in 2003, where he was named a top scholar athlete. He received his BS in Exercise Biology from Davis in 2007 and earned his math and physical education teaching credential at Sac St. in 2009. Diaz-Romero coached at Woodland HS (2005-08) and at NorCal powerhouse James Logan HS (2009-2012), where, in 2012, he was named the Logan Coach of the Year. In 2013, Diaz-Romero coached Wolverine WR Devin Gray to the All-Valley Conference 1st team. In addition to his Sierra coaching duties, he is a math teacher at Center HS in Antelope.
Coach Popson is in his second year as a Sierra coach. Ted attended Portland State and was drafted by the New York Giants in 1991. He played five seasons from 1994 to 1998 for the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers as a tight end. He had eight receiving touchdowns in his career and played in one Super Bowl in 1994 for the winning 49ers.
Jamaal, a native of Athens, Alabama, participated in high school basketball, football and track. He attended Butte College for two years then transferred to University of Rhode Island for his final two years.
Jamaal’s parents are Robert and Petra Bess.
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