Jack Del Rio Returns To His Roots In Oakland

With all due respect to Tony Sparano, the Raiders got their guy. Better yet, the Oakland community got their guy. Sparano’s been chasing the Oakland job since September, but Jack Del Rio has waited 34 years to return home.

“This was always his dream job. I’m just amazed he’s back here,” his wife, Linda, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

Long before Del Rio led Hayward High to a state title on the Oakland Coliseum grass, his father (Jack Sr.) walked the halls of Hayward Union High.

Jack Del Rio Sr.
Jack Del Rio Sr. HUHS Class of 1955.

Jack Sr. raised his children to be Raiders fans, and continues to hold season tickets. The family has always held to the dream that one day Jack Jr. would return. Which begs the question, are they really that hard core?



The culture of the Raiders isn’t lost on their new head coach. “My dad took me, sat in the stands and rooted way back when,” Del Rio told reporters last week. But Del Rio has another interesting tie to some of the Oakland culture. He’s of Mexican descent on his father’s side – uniquely relevant considering the large Latino fan base associated with the Raiders.

“I’m an East Bay guy,” says Del Rio, “you have to be one or the other, you can’t be both. Don’t tell me you’re both, I don’t want to hear you’re both. I’m an East Bay guy and I’ve always been an East Bay guy.”

In his time away, Del Rio has remained loyal to the Oakland community. He financed a weight room, supported the building of a team room, and provided school supplies to student athletes at Hayward High. In 2009, he invited four former high school coaches to his game at Candlestick Park.

Del Rio grew up in a special era for sports in the East Bay. The A’s won three consecutive World Series crowns, the Warriors won the NBA the Finals, and of course the Raiders captured their first of three Super Bowls in 1976. “I take great pride in the performance of the Bay Area teams,” Del Rio said, adding that his first goal is to win the AFC West – something the Raiders haven’t done since 2002.

Now Jack Jr. will walk the sidelines just 10 miles from where he played football in high school. “I’ve followed them in my heart the entire time,” said Del Rio. Now the Raiders will follow him. The challenge is steep, but a community of fans is as hopeful as they’ve been in a decade.

He was an offensive guy, but this feels like a hire Al Davis would have endorsed – a coach who lived next door to the history of his beloved Raiders and for years has shared the dream of returning them to greatness.


1 thought on “Jack Del Rio Returns To His Roots In Oakland

  1. Jack Del Rio’s dad is of Mexican descent. Why does he say Spanish. There is no shame in being one. Ask Plunkett, Kapp or Flores they were great and they didn’t chide from being what they were. Call a spade a spade, he’s a mestizo so there!

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