This year’s NorCal basketball playoffs hold special significance for Doug Vierra. He announced this week that he is stepping down as Bishop O’Dowd High School’s head varsity men’s basketball coach effective at the end of this season. He will continue teaching at O’Dowd. Longtime assistant coach and O’Dowd alumnus Lou Richie ’89 has been selected as Vierra’s successor.
During his coaching career, Vierra compiled an impressive 141-44 won lost record over six seasons, including three Hayward Area Athletic League titles (2007, 2010 and 2012), three North Coast Section championship game appearances (2007, 2010 and 2012), two NCS championships (2010 and 2012), three CIF NorCal titles (2007, 2010 and 2011) and three state championship appearances (2007, 2010 and 2011).
“Outside of Doug’s outstanding record, his ability to create an atmosphere of developing character and individual responsibility among his athletes has been the foundation to his success,” O’Dowd athletic director Mike Bowler said.
“I have loved every day of my six seasons as the O’Dowd basketball coach, as I did my six seasons at Oakland High before that. I thank all of my players for a lifetime of great memories! After discussing things with my wife and family, I realize that I need a break from the great time demands of coaching such a high level program. I am a teacher and coach and will continue that vocation, though probably at the developmental levels,” Vierra said.
“I thank everyone at O’Dowd who entrusted me with this great opportunity six years ago and have supported me strongly throughout. I would rather have waited until after our season for a public announcement, but I understand the school’s need to name a successor as soon as possible. I’m thrilled for Coach Richie and have great expectations for the future of the program,” he said.
O’Dowd Principal Pam Shay and President Steve Phelps expressed their gratitude to Vierra for dedication and commitment to the basketball program. “Doug Vierra has always modeled our core values of ‘strength of character’ and care and respect for his players and our community. His many championships are clear indicators of his competence. Our entire community thanks him for his exemplary service,” they said.
A valued member of the O’Dowd community, Richie has shown tremendous growth in the last few years, Bowler said. “We are confident Lou will do a great job in all aspects of the position,” he added.
Richie said he is humbled and thankful to have been selected as the next head varsity basketball coach.
“It’s an honor to have the opportunity to give back to the O’Dowd community. I care very deeply about this place,” he said. “I look forward to working with the school’s incredible administrators, faculty and staff, and student-athletes and their families.”
Richie graduated from O’Dowd in 1989 and subsequently played basketball at UCLA and Clemson University, where he was named to the All-Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Academic Team and was an All-ACC Honorable Mention selection.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in history, with a minor in political science, from Clemson. He also holds a multiple subject teaching credential from Cal State University, Monterey Bay, and master’s degree in education from UC Berkeley. He is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in educational leadership at San Francisco State University.
Richie previously taught sixth grade and served as vice principal at St. Lawrence O’Toole School.
The men’s varsity assistant coach since 2001, Richie has always been firmly committed to the mission of Bishop O’Dowd High School, and is an outstanding motivator and teacher of basketball skills.