Coaching dad moves family to California

Updated: June 19, 2004, 11:21 AM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

For the second time in five years, Steve Rivers will follow the son.

The father of San Diego Chargers rookie quarterback and first-round draft choice Philip Rivers this week resigned as head football coach at Wakefield High School in Raleigh, N.C., and will relocate his family to Southern California.

The elder Rivers had told school officials before the draft that he could leave Wakefield, depending on which NFL team selected his son.

Philip Rivers was selected fourth overall in the draft by the New York Giants, but was traded within an hour to the Chargers for quarterback Eli Manning in one of the biggest draft day swaps in NFL history. Rivers is competing for the starting job and, after some difficult moments early in minicamps, has made considerable progress.

"We were hoping and wishing that he would stay, but he was honest with us the whole time," said Dexter Cooley, Wakefield's athletic director, in confirming Steve Rivers' departure. "There were no secrets."

In a draft-day phone interview with ESPN.com, Philip Rivers cited the significance of having his family close by to his successful career at North Carolina State. In fact, he declined an NFL invitation to attend the draft in New York, opting to remain in Raleigh with his family.

"Years from now, when you look back on the most important day in your life, you want to remember it as having been surrounded by your family," he said.

The decision by Steve Rivers is hardly surprising, given that he moved his family from Athens, Ala., to Raleigh when Philip was a freshman at N.C. State. Steve Rivers coached his son for his three varsity seasons in high school.

It is not known if Steve Rivers will attempt to resume his coaching career in California. NFL scouts who came to know the family said he is anything but a "celebrity parent," but rather just a father who wants to lend support to his son in any way possible.

Wakefield has posted the football vacancy and is accepting resumes, but Cooley acknowledged Rivers will be difficult to replace.

He built the football program from scratch at a school that opened in 2000 and began with just a junior varsity team. Rivers took the Wolverines to the second round of the state 4-A playoffs each of the last two seasons.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer for ESPN.com.