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This profile was last updated on 3/8/11  and contains information from public web pages.

Mr. James Francis Nolan

Wrong James Francis Nolan?

Employment History

  • Loyola Writing Institute at Loyola University
  • Coach
    Compton Centennial Apaches
  • Widely Published Poet, Fiction Writer
  • Louisiana Book Festival


  • undergraduate degree
    Eckerd College
  • PhD , comparative literature
    University of California at Berkley
  • master's degree
    State University of New York at Stonybrook
78 Total References
Web References
James Nolan - poet, ..., 8 Mar 2011 [cached]
James Nolan - poet, novelist, essayist - Nolan did his undergraduate work at Eckerd College, then known as Florida Presbyterian. He received a master's degree at the State University of New York at Stonybrook, and his PhD in comparative literature at the University of California at Berkley. Until recently, he was Writer-in-Residence at Tulane University and currently directs the Loyola Writing Institute at Loyola University. Nolan has published two books of poetry: Why I Live in the Forest and What Moves is Not the Wind. Perpetual Care, a collection of 16 short fiction works, won the 2007 Jefferson Press Prize. Nolan is a regular contributor to Boulevard, and his work has appeared in New Orleans Noir, Utne Reader,The Washington Post, and Andrei Codrescu's Exquisite Corpse.
Nolan has received a National Endowment of the Arts grant and two Fulbright Fellowships.
Saints & Sinners Literary Festival - James Nolan, 25 Mar 2008 [cached]
James Nolan James Nolan's collections of poetry are Why I Live in the Forest and What Moves Is Not the Wind.He has translated Neruda's Stones of the Sky and Longing: Selected Poems of Jaime Gil de Biedma.Poet-Chief, his book on Whitman, Neruda, and Native American poetics, is out with the University of New Mexico Press.He has been honored by Fulbright, N.E.A., and Javits fellowships, and currently directs the Loyola Writing Institute at Loyola University in his native New Orleans.
New Coach Jimmy Nolan gives instruction during practice at Compton Centennial High, where players use the bushes behind the end zone (background, right) for bathroom breaks because they have no restrooms near their field.(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Jimmy Nolan, the new coach of the Apaches, has to worry about gangs and lack of equipment. But his biggest problem is simply making sure his players have enough to eat.
After the first five days of football practice in a dusty corner of Compton, Hell Week rises to a new boil.
Jimmy Nolan, the new coach of the Compton Centennial Apaches, is wondering how he can unlock the potential in his young football team when he doesn't even have the keys to the stadium.
Some days he scales the wrought-iron gates. Some days, his players climb with him.
"Right now we may not be too good at football, but we're great at hopping fences," Nolan says.
When Nolan is able to borrow keys, open the gates and drive his white Toyota minivan next to the field, the players store their clothes there because there are no locks in their locker room. They dress in the sunlight, giggling girls watching from the bleachers, 50 kids of widely varying shapes and sizes tugging on donated shoes that are too tight, old T-shirts that are beyond wrinkled, and never, ever anything blue.
Blue is for the Crips, and this neighborhood belongs to the Bloods.
"Somebody donated blue shirts, but the kids are afraid to wear them," Nolan says.
"I am not complaining," Nolan says. "Everything we go through builds character."
The construction required here is immense and intimidating, its burden falling on the thin shoulders of a pale red-haired guy from Mission Viejo who inexplicably signed up to spend two hours a day driving to and from the battle of a lifetime, coaching kids and changing lives for a $3,500 stipend that he is donating to charity.
One week into summer football practice, the new coach is working with no office, no phone, no computer, no video camera. He can't order anyone to run the stadium steps because one-third of the bleachers are surrounded in yellow tape. They were burned in a recent fire. He can't literally bench anyone, because, well, the field contains not a single bench.
He last coached at affluent Laguna Beach High before leaving three years ago to focus on his Orange County athletic training business. Yet Friday, dressed in colorful board shorts and a white headband, he hopped around his players as if he had just struck it rich.
"Some people wonder why I picked Compton Centennial," Nolan says. "After being here awhile, it feels like Compton Centennial picked me."
Other local high schools face similar economic and environmental challenges, but none has tackled a new coach like this - greeting a cheerful idealist with such a stark reality.
Nolan has two returning starters from a defending league championship team, and one of them is injured. Half of his team are sophomores and many others are playing for the first time, one even asking him to define "tailback."
Yet none of those things are Nolan's biggest problem.
"The biggest problem here is hunger," Nolan says. "A lot of kids were getting dizzy, forgetting assignments, it turns out a lot of them had not eaten all day."
The No. 2 problem?
"They need rides home," Nolan says.
After getting a look at his new team this summer, Nolan did something that football coaches rarely do. He admitted vulnerability. He sent out three mass e-mails asking for donations for his team.
"It isn't like we could just hold a carwash or a bake sale; we don't have enough players or involved parents," he explains. "I couldn't think of anything else."
He began his first missive with, "I am the sole booster club for our program....I need some help. He asked for water, food, cleats, socks, underwear. He asked for shoulder pads. He asked for one dollar per person. He sent the e-mails to more than 2,000 people.
"I knew it could be difficult here; that's why I wanted the challenge," Nolan says. "But I had no idea my coaching would begin with soliciting big jars of peanut butter."
But the crazy idea worked. Somebody sent cases of water. Somebody else sent packages of boxer shorts. A guy showed up at practice the other day offering slightly used cleats, and Nolan tossed him a $100 bill and bought all of them.
It's nice, but it's only a start. Nobody is comfortable yet. The other day, Nolan was pulled aside at practice by a parent who told him that a local gang had killed a rival gang member the night before. The parent warned that retaliation could happen to someone on his football team, and that Nolan should carefully watch slow-moving cars on an adjacent street.
Oh yeah, and have a good practice.
"I'm like, 'What?''' Nolan recalls.
That was the reaction of the team when Nolan was hired this summer, the last head coaching job filled on a CIF website, Nolan's best chance to get back in the game.
Nolan knew about preaching from his parents, a former Catholic priest and nun. He knew about playing from his days as a defensive back for Santa Ana Mater Dei High and, later, the University of Utah.
He knew about coaching from stints at Cantwell-SacredHeartin Montebello and later Laguna Beach, where he became briefly infamous for publicly ripping an opposing coach who refused to resolve a tie game by agreeing to an overtime period.
Nolan left Laguna Beach three years ago to focus on his successful Speed Kills training business but eventually realized he missed the kids, and so he plotted his return.
"The way it worked out, I feel like it's a mission for me," Nolan says.
Kenyon also promises that, later this week, Nolan should have keys to the gates and maybe even a makeshift office.
Only half the players are there because the previous day's practice was canceled after there was a break in the school's water main, yet Nolan can't stop hollering.
But for one sweaty moment Friday, you hope Jimmy Nolan is right.
Thanks to the L.A. Times Writer and the New Coach Nolan for bringing this terrible problem to light. There are a lot of issues going on here that need to be addressed and that need to be taken care of. I agree with what Tamara said on the Big Ten '75 website. She was the first to ask whether Compton High School or Dominguez High School are suffering and having these kinds of problems?
Roth Partners - who we are - our talent and partners, 6 Mar 2015 [cached]
Jim Nolan
Creative Director/Writer
Pirate's Alley Faulkner Society: Words & Music Faculty, 30 April 2014 [cached]
James Nolan, a New Orleans native, is a widely published poet, fiction writer, essayist, and translator. His first novel, Higher Ground, won the Faulkner Society's gold medal for Best Novel. Higher Ground is being released by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Press concurrent with Words & Music, 2011. A collection of his short stories, Perpetual Care (Jefferson Press) won the 2007 Jefferson Press Prize. His collections of poetry are Why I Live in the Forest and What Moves Is Not the Wind, both from Wesleyan University Press. A regular contributor to Boulevard, his fiction, poems, and essays have appeared in The Southern Review, The Georgia Review, Poetry, Shenandoah, Utne Reader, The North American Review, New Orleans Noir and The Washington Post.
Other People with the name "Nolan":
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