Gallagher column: Everyone seems happy with Nixon

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 10, 2012

SPENCER — Mark down a third head football football coach in the Nixon family.
First Grandpa, then dad, now Joe at North Rowan.
After eight years at West Rowan as Scott Young’s top assistant, Joe Nixon has surfaced in Spencer.
“I felt North Rowan was the right spot for me,” Nixon said. “I’m happy I made that decision.”
Nixon made it early in the year, coming over in January. It helped him get to know the existing players and work the halls recruiting good-looking kids who may not have played before.
When Photo Day arrived on Wednesday, the jerseys with all that yellow were gone and the Cavaliers were in that beautiful green.
“Like our new uniforms,” Nixon asked.
Who wouldn’t? North Rowan and green go together more than any other color. Yellow’s OK for practice, but in front of a Friday night crowd, it’s green.
Nixon orchestrated his first Photo Day and his assistants made sure all those shirt-tails were tucked in and people were going to be in the right places. The Cavaliers got in line and marched to the beat of a different drummer.
“Coach Nixon’s working us hard,” said a beaming linebacker Xavier Robinson, a junior. We’re getting stronger every day.”
Physically and mentally.
“He’s encouraging people to come,” senior Will Robinson said during a recent practice. “And he’s getting people out here.”
Forty-five strong for the team photo, to be exact.
Nixon looked like a proud papa.
“If you’re an assistant coach, you always have the goal to be a head coach,” he said, motioning certain players over here for a photo and others over there for another.
His family, Grandpa Glenn, who passed away in May at age 81, and dad Rich, have been through enough of these things. It’s a two-hour, 20-minute drive from the Nixon homeplace in Clayton, but expect a few rides to Rowan County.
“They’re excited,” Nixon said of his family. “They want us to do well.”
So the players are giddy. Families are happy.
The fans?
The community has certainly warmed up to Nixon.
“They’ve been awesome,” Nixon said of the fans. “We had needs and wants, and everything we’ve asked for, we’ve gotten.”
They’ve even shown up for 7-on-7s.
“The fans are excited,” Nixon said. “We can make them even more excited by winning a few games.”
Next Friday night, the Joe Nixon era begins at Carson.
Wear green.

Contact Ronnie Gallagher at 704-797-4287 or