(KTXL) — When Shane Steichen was introduced as the Indianapolis Colts’ new head coach, he didn’t forget to mention his roots in El Dorado Hills. 

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“I’d like to thank my high school coach, Chris Jones,” Steichen said during his introductory press conference on Tuesday. “Thank you for teaching me the game, making me foster a love for the game. I will forever be grateful for you and our friendship.”

Years before he was on the NFL sideline, Steichen was a standout quarterback at Oak Ridge High School, playing for Jones in the early 2000s. Steichen, along with former Colts receiver Austin Collie, helped lead the Trojans to a Sac-Joaquin Section championship in 2002. 

“Shane was a great competitor, and there wasn’t one play or sequence where we were all convinced he was great, but gosh, he really competed his tail off and we loved that,” Jones told the Sacramento Bee. “He wasn’t the biggest guy, a tall, skinny young kid who worked himself into a talented player.”

Steichen went on to play at the collegiate level at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, appearing in 23 games as a quarterback. As a UNLV Rebel, Steichen threw for 2,755 yards with 22 touchdowns, according to the Colts.

After his playing career at UNLV ended in 2006, Steichen was brought onto the Rebels coaching staff as a student assistant (2007) and offensive graduate assistant (2008-09). He went on to become an offensive assistant at the University of Louisville in 2010 before making the jump to the NFL. 

“I definitely think his approach to the game, I can tell you, it’s similar to the likes of Peyton Manning,” Collie told Sports Illustrated. “Only because they both have a very unique passion for football. From Day 1, I knew he was going to be someone in football. He has an understanding of the game that not many people have.” 

Steichen was a coaching candidate for multiple NFL teams after calling plays for a dynamic offense in the Philadelphia Eagles, who recently competed in the Super Bowl against the Kansas City Chiefs. 

The Oak Ridge alum also had coaching stints with the San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers (2011-12 and 2014-20) and the Cleveland Browns (2013). He was the Eagles’ offensive coordinator from 2021-22.