By Ryan Miller, Athletic Director
Lutheran West has announced the hiring of John Parrella as its next Head Football Coach. Parrella brings an impressive resume to the Longhorns having played at the University of Nebraska before a 12 year NFL career and coaching stops at various levels including; High School, Junior College, NCAA Division II, NCAA Division I, and the National Football League. Parrella was most recently a volunteer assistant for Lutheran West in the fall 2020 season. He was coming off a stint with the Cleveland Browns in the 2018 season, during which he held the position of Assistant Defensive Line Coach. Parrella was tasked with structuring a comprehensive game plan for the Browns defensive line that saw an increase in number of sacks by 2.7% throughout the 2018 season. The team also tied for second in the NFL for forced fumbles via rushing. Parrella had a hand in the continued development of defensive end Myles Garrett as well as defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi. Before coming to Cleveland, Parrella worked with “The Spring League” in Miami, FL developing players who spent time on NFL rosters.
For the 2016 and 2017 seasons Parrella served as the Defensive Line coach for his alma mater, the University of Nebraska, under Head Coach Mike Riley. The defensive line improved from #98 to #20 nationally during his time with the program. He coached two Big Ten Conference First team players in the 2016 season and recruited four linemen in 2016 who achieved “4 star” ratings. From 2013 to 2016, Parrella was on the coaching staffs at Northern Michigan University (Marquette, MI) and Chabot College (Hayward, CA), coaching the defensive line at both institutions.
Parrella got his start in coaching as the head coach at Valley Christian High School in Dublin, CA. From 2007-2013, Parrella built the high school program from scratch into a state contender. During his tenure, he developed 16 lettermen who went on to play for major collegiate programs; including 3 linemen who were selected to the USA All American Team.
Prior to his coaching career, Parrella played on the defensive line in the National Football League for 12 seasons with the Buffalo Bills (1993), the San Diego Chargers (1994-2001), and the Oakland Raiders (2002-2004). He was a second round draft pick by the Bills in 1993, going 55th overall. Parrella served as a co-captain for the Chargers for the 1999, 2000, and 2001 seasons and for Raiders in the 2002 season. During his NFL career he played in three Super Bowls and earned such accolades as Lineman of the Year, the Ed Block Courage Award, Most Inspirational Player, Unsung Hero Award, and Co-Lineman of the Year. Parrella played in 172 NFL games during his career.
Parrella played his high school football at Grand Island Central Catholic in Nebraska before signing a Letter of Intent to play football for legendary coach Tom Osborne at the University of Nebraska. He was Honorable Mention All Big Eight in 1991. He earned First Team All Big Eight in 1992 and was Second Team All American. Parrella is a University of Nebraska and Nebraska High School Hall of Fame inductee. Parrella earned a Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Nebraska.
“I would like to thank Superintendent Chris Steinmann, Principal Mike Waugh, and Athletic Director Ryan Miller for their confidence in me to lead the Lutheran West football program to new heights. Today marks a new era in Lutheran West football. We will be building young men to become ‘Champions for Life’ on and off the field through faith, character, commitment, and leadership. The sky’s the limit on what we can accomplish here at Lutheran West because of the school’s great leadership, faculty, and staff.”
Ryan Miller, Athletic Director, says:
“John’s resume as a player and coach speaks for itself. He has played and coached at every level possible and brings a wealth of experience to our school and football program. It’s extremely unique for a decorated player and coach of John’s stature to have head coaching experience at a Christian high school. His commitment to building men of faith to become ‘Champions for Life’ through the game of football will have an immediate and lasting impact not only on our football program, but also our athletic department and school.”
Parrella will also serve as the The Director of Community Engagement at Lutheran West. He will officially begin his tenure at Lutheran West on February 1st, 2021. Lutheran West football opens its 2021 season at home against the Fairview Warriors on August 20th.