Our unique connection to the Orange Lutheran football program comes from being neighbors with the head coach’s parents.
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The offensive coordinator at Orange Lutheran when the school won the CIF D2 state title in 2006 was Rod Sherman, who left the school in 2007 to help build a similar program at Valor Christian in Highlands Ranch, Colo. The goal at Valor was the same at California Christian-based schools like Oaks Christian, Valley Christian (San Jose) and OLu. They were all schools that started small but wanted to go big.
The school in Colorado didn’t want Sherman to be athletic director and head coach so his best friend, Brent Vieselmeyer, came with him to be head football coach. Brent was the defensive coordinator at OLu in 2006 under head coach Jim Kunau. They won their first state title there in 2009 in a lower division and were quickly moved up to the state’s highest class. Valor won state titles in 2010 and 2011 and kept winning them in 2012 when Rod took over as head football coach while continuing as athletic director. Valor Christian later won state titles under Sherman in 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016.
Starting not long after 2007, updates on how Rod was doing in Colorado became easy to come by. His parents, Doug and Donna Sherman, had retired and moved from Southern California to Stockton where their other son, Ron, lives. They both also are Stockton natives and are graduates of Stagg High in Stockton. It just so happened they bought a house across the street from where yours truly, the longtime editor of Cal-Hi Sports, has been living since 1997.
Doug and Donna are often seen riding their bikes through the neighborhood and Doug still happily mows his own lawn. They almost made it a yearly tradition to head to Colorado during the state championship weeks there as Valor Christian often went to them and almost always won.
One of the players that Rod and Brent coached at Valor was running back Christian McCaffrey, the son of former Denver Broncos’ standout Ed McCaffrey, who is now playing for the San Francisco 49ers and was earlier runner-up for the Heisman Trophy at Stanford. After the 2017 season and despite an 11-1 record, Rod had to leave Valor Christian. Ed then became head coach (although he only stayed for two years before going to Northern Colorado University). Rod had become the head coach at Arapahoe High in Littleton, which was the school he was at when he took the OLu job in 2020. Brent is now on the staff of the NFL’s Washington Commanders and previously was a head coach at Santa Margarita.
Since 2021, almost every weekend during the season, Doug and Donna have traveled from Stockton to Orange County to see Rod’s teams play. Their most recent trip was just last weekend to see the Lancers defeat Serra of Gardena and also to see the first freshman game of their grandson, Deacon, who is one of Rod and wife Kristin’s four children. This week’s game for OLu at De La Salle is the first time they’ve seen one of Rod’s teams play and then be able to sleep in their own beds afterward in more than 15 years.
It was a busy time for the Shermans after the game last Friday as well. Rod and Kristin were planning to take one of their daughters to college two days later in Arizona. Kristin will have to come back to Orange County to coach a football team just like Rod since she has taken on the role of being the OLu flag football coach. Doug and Donna took off in their RV for one night on Saturday near Sequoia National Park and were then going to be in Southern California for OLu’s home game next week vs Eastside Catholic of Washington. They are then going to head to Arizona for OLu’s fourth game against Chandler High. Kristin’s parents live there so all four grandparents will be there for that game.
Doug was on the sidelines for the game vs De La Salle and likes to get a sideline pass for all of his son’s games. It was a different experience for us from the usual as well, watching a lot of plays with someone you see frequently all the time so close to home.
Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of CalHiSports.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: