ESCONDIDO — Escondido High School’s new head football coach Stephen Dixon brings a new philosophy and fresh wave of energy to help inspire the Cougars squad for the upcoming season.
Dixon, a physical trainer, was recently hired to take the helm in the aftermath of head coach Aron Gideon’s sudden resignation after just one season. Under Gideon, the Cougars finished 3-7.
Dixon had interviewed for the position last year, and despite making a strong impression, the school selected Gideon, a former head coach at Taft High in Woodland Hills.
But Principal Jason Jacobs encouraged him to reapply for the position this year.
“(Dixon) had a strong interview the first time and an even stronger interview this time around,” Jacobs said.
Dixon brings 12 years of coaching experience to Escondido High, having previously served as the defensive coordinator at La Jolla High School, where he helped the Vikings win two league titles and finish second in the Division 2 CIF Championship.
Before that, Dixon served as the defensive coordinator and assistant defensive coach at La Jolla Country Day, helping lead the Torreys to win the Division 4 CIF Championship and finish second at state.
Over the past year, Dixon also led youth teams in 7-on-7 tournaments around Escondido.
“I think he’s going to be a great leader for us,” Jacobs said.
Dixon recently moved to the Hidden Meadows area of Escondido with his wife, Chamille, and their three young children, Caia, Cade and newborn Cobe. Together the family attends Canvas Church in Escondido.
So far, Dixon has met with some of the young players he will be leading next year during workout sessions at the high school.
“They seem pretty excited,” Dixon said. “There’s a sense of joy… it’s kind of like turning a new leaf.”
Dixon is planning a rebranding phase for the team with new uniforms, enhanced social media presence and a new coaching philosophy.
“We’re going to build champions while chasing championships,” Dixon said. “We’re going to teach them to be the best version of themselves they can be whether it’s during weights or in class.”
Dixon is also excited about his fellow coaches, praising Jerome Watson, the team’s offensive coordinator and assistant coach, for his ability to excite the team. Dixon also acknowledged Escondido High baseball coach Aaron Hoofard, who is currently coaching some of the same kids on the football team.
“We want to support our multi-sport kids,” Dixon said. “We want to show up for them not just for football but for other sports outside the season.”
The team recently launched its new Instagram page @escocougarfb.