With over 700 Dragons playing across 48 sports teams each year, excitement for the new O’Dowd Center continues to mount. Set to open this fall, the Center will boast an NBA regulation size court, new team meeting rooms, and a state-of-the-art athletic performance center for student-athletes to train, meet, and compete. With this Center serving as the new home for athletics at O’Dowd, our programs are set to strengthen and thrive.
Johnnie Bryant ’03, Associate Head Coach for the New York Knicks, tours the O’Dowd Center with President J.D. Childs and Head Basketball Coach Lou Richie ’89.
“Our athletic trainers, coaches, and players have done a phenomenal job in our current space, even though we’ve outgrown it,” says Director of Athletics, Carlos Reed. Right now, the volleyball and basketball programs manage ten teams and share just two court spaces for all their training, tryouts, team meetings, practices, and games. “Despite that, our teams have excelled,” Carlos states. The basketball program has won 5 CIF State Championships and 17 NorCal Championships. Girls volleyball has dominated with eight NorCal championships. Adding the O’Dowd Center to the current facilities will be a total game-changer. “We will have championship facilities to match our championship teams,” enthuses Reed. “We’ll finally be able to host championship games at home! We’re really looking forward to having our supportive fans in the house, and hearing the resounding ringing cheer of Dragon Pride.”
Supporting Students Beyond the Field of Play
Each year, more than 20 O’Dowd graduates go on to play college sports. Our counseling staff work in strong partnership with the athletics department, supporting student-athletes with their academic aspirations, and assisting with the college recruiting process. Many alumni have gone on to play professional sports in the United States and abroad, including the NFL, NBA, MLB, NWSL., and even competing in the Olympics. And the experience of O’Dowd athletics is so positive for many students that they return as alumni to support the programs. “We are fortunate to have alumni return in various roles to inspire our current students,” shares Hillary Kigar, Associate Director of Athletics. “Some will return to coach our teams and more recently, alumni will be guest speakers as part of our Advanced Athletics program.”
Coach Lauren Nadler with soccer players Sara Redfield (left) and Katie Senn (right) at their National Letter of Intent Signing Ceremony.
Coaching is foundational to O’Dowd’s athletic excellence. Acting as powerful mentors and guides, coaches play a significant formative role in student lives – setting strong expectations for passion, hard work, and discipline. Dragon coaches emphasize winning graciously and losing with humility, but above all – competing ferociously. “Whether it is in the classroom or on the field, our student-athletes strive for excellence every day,” asserts Girls Head Soccer Coach Lauren Nadler. “Our soccer players are always looking for ways to learn and grow, and help their teammates do the same. The pillars of our program are hard work, pride, and teamwork. Each of these values is evident not only in how they solve problems together, but also in knowing that the strength of our team is in each other.”
In collaboration with coaches, O’Dowd’s strength and conditioning program utilizes digital technology to offer mobility training drills, posture analysis, movement patterns, strength training, and speed and power progressions, differentiated by gender, sport, and body type, for all student-athletes. “Adding the performance lab is going to be super impactful because we will double the number of athletes that we can train,” Reed explains. “This expansion has been something our program has needed for years. It’s going to allow us to accommodate all our coaches, year-round.”
In addition, the new performance lab features enhanced equipment and sports medicine resources, accommodating more than 3,000 annual visits from students at every stage of fitness. “This is an incredible opportunity for O’Dowd,” exudes Head Athletic Trainer Joanne Kinyon. “With the new space and training facility we will elevate all of our athletic programs to the next level. ”
A Win for Students
When the O’Dowd Center opens this fall, it will enhance our student athletic experience in countless ways. As a community, we have chosen to invest in honoring our Dragon legacy – and we look forward, with heartfelt commitment, to the excellence, innovation and success that will undoubtedly rise up with future generations.