Jeromy Blackwell’s winning formula
Blackwell’s closest friends are his coaching staff, and that camaraderie has converted into consistent success
By Jermaine Johnson II @Jerm_10
STRATHMORE – Jeromy Blackwell has undoubtedly cemented himself as one of the most accomplished coaches in the central section.
He is currently the longest tenured coach in Strathmore football history with over 100 wins to his name. It has been a total team effort contributing to the success he has had. While players come and go, one of the things that has remained constant is the coaching staff he has assembled.
Blackwell has personal ties to nearly every coach on the staff, even down to the junior varsity team. None of those are deeper than the relationship he has with his varsity defensive coordinator Scott Bowser. When Blackwell was a student at Steve Garvey Junior High School in Lindsay (now known as Reagan Elementary School), Bowser was his physical education teacher.
“I thought he was the meanest coach I ever had when I was in middle school,” Blackwell said. At the time, he was unaware that the big mean teacher would go on to play an influential role in his life for the next few decades. Once Blackwell got to Lindsay High School, he joined the football team and Bowser was one of his coaches.
“I looked out for him, encouraged him to play college football, and helped him get into Fresno State,” Bowser said. After a successful career playing football at the College of the Sequoias and Fresno State, Blackwell began his coaching career at Strathmore in 2000.
“He always bugged me about coming over,” Bowser said, who was coaching at Granite Hills. It took a while, but finally in 2009 he came over to Strathmore and has been there since.
When describing the importance Bowser has to the team, Blackwell compared him to the Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator saying, “He’s like Wade Phillips but for the Spartans.”
While Bowser handles the defense, coach Chris Silveira is the team’s offensive coordinator. He played football at Hanford High School where he broke several section passing records. He then went on to play in college at COS, which is where he met Blackwell. A few years later, he was looking for a job and he walked into Strathmore for an interview.
“I walk in and the first person I see is Jeromy Blackwell. He sees me and he goes ‘Chris Silveira! You’re going for this job? I need a coach! You want to coach?!’ I said yeah I’ll coach!” Silveira said. “[Blackwell] was on the [interview] panel. According to him I probably wasn’t the best candidate but he needed a coach. He got me the job and I owe him a lot.”
Silveira and Blackwell have been together for most of their careers. The friendship they have developed has translated into success on the field.
“We can pretty much read each other’s minds now,” Silveira said.
Ricardo Lopez and Robert Garza are in charge of the big men in the trenches. Lopez played for the Spartans under Blackwell from 2006 to 2008. For Garza, his career at Strathmore predates Blackwell. He played at Strathmore and began coaching after graduating from there in 1992. He has seen the team’s transformation throughout the years, but the culture has remained the same.
“Everybody has their own way of doing things, but overall Strathmore is Strathmore. We’re hard nose, blue-collar people, we just go to work and play football,” Garza said.
While Blackwell is aware that he inherited a program that was already established, Garza pointed out that the college football star brought certain elements to the team that took them to the next level.
“If I were to say what the difference was from then to now, Jeromy brought a lot of stuff from Fresno State such as the weight training, film session, and overall organization of the team,” Garza said. “Everything we do in the summer and in the weight room has shown because we have gotten so much stronger.”
This staff has coached teams that have won three league titles, four valley titles, three regional titles, and have gone to three straight state championship games. In 2016 they were the first team in Tulare County to host a state playoff game, and a year later the first team to win a state championship. When asked what makes this coaching staff unique, Blackwell responded, “Knowing each other [really well], we have a really good relationship amongst the staff. They’re all the main friends I have,” he said. “They’re good at building relationships with the kids. I can do my job with gusto because I know everybody is going 100 miles per hour all time and doing it right.”