Hamilton Tiger Cats

Todd Dillon - Quarterback- 1989-94 - Long Beach State


Lodi coach goes back to basics - Bob Highfill - Recordnet.com - 02-03-1998

It seems the nicknames of the football teams Todd Dillon has played for over the years have a common theme.

He's been a Mustang at Delta College, a 49er at Long Beach State and a Gambler with Houston of the USFL. Those nicknames conjure images of the Old West, where toughness and a no-nonsense approach were key to survival.

Dillon possessed those qualities as a standout quarterback at the high school, collegiate and professional levels, and he hopes they will help reignite Lodi High School's varsity football program as its new head coach. Dillon succeeds Bob Whittaker, who had a 12-38 record in five years.

''I think it's going to be quite a challenge,'' said Dillon, a 1980 graduate of Tokay High. ''To be successful, it's going to take a lot of hard work.'' Dillon spent the past three years as offensive coordinator at Delta College, where he played quarterback in 1980-81. Gary Scott was Delta's head coach the first two seasons Dillon was in charge of the offense.
''Delta is going to miss him,'' said Scott, who left coaching last season to be Delta's athletic director. ''It was a pleasure to have him.''

Dillon infused the run-and-shoot to complement the more basic robust offense at Delta, and the Mustangs were among the most productive teams in the Bay Valley Conference. The run-and-shoot, which is football's equivalent to a fast break offense in basketball, was the style he played much of his professional career.

In 1984-85, Dillon signed with the Houston Gamblers of the USFL after a stellar stint at Long Beach State, where he led the Pacific Coast Athletic Association (now the Big West Conference in total offense in 1982 with 3,587 yards, which ranks sixth all-time in Big West history. His 3,517 yards passing that season is

Todd Dillon         Long Beach State        
    Passing           Rushing    
Yr Team Att Cmp Yds Pct. TD Int Lg C Yds Avg Lg TD
1986 Ott 186 102 1,279 54.8 3 12 47 4 6 1.5 3 0
1987 Ott 402 222 2,901 55.2 14 18 57 29 228 7.9 19 0
1988 Ott 185 97 1,211 52.4 4 8 72 16 109 6.8 37 3
1989 Ham 191 105 1,368 55.0 5 3 53 22 106 4.8 32 0
1990 Ham 193 113 135 58.5 7 10 48 14 59 4.2 18 0
1991 Ham 246 125 1,551 50.8 8 10 75 39 243 6.2 25 2
1992 Ham 46 20 371 43.5 2 2 53 7 47 0.0 23 0
1993 Ham 22 14 192 63.6 1 1 46 5 23 4.6 11 0
1994 Ham 188 91 1,034 48.4 3 7 40 12 32 2.7 14 0
Total 9 1659 889 10,042 53.6 47 71 72 148 853 5.8 37  

seventh-best all-time in the conference.

Future NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly was a teammate of Dillon's with Houston. They ran the run-and-shoot offense with former Atlanta Falcons head coach June Jones as quarterbacks coach and Mouse Davis as offensive coordinator. Dillon also played for current San Diego Chargers head coach Kevin Gilbride at Ottawa of the CFL in 1986-87, then joined Hamilton of the CFL from 1988-94.

''All of the great coaches and players I played with shared one thing -- they all were competitive,'' Dillon said.
Upon retirement from football, Dillon moved to Lodi and is a teacher in the Lodi Unified School District.

Dillon made his name with the run-and-shoot as a player and coach, but he says it's not a system that will work at his new job.
''We're going to just try and be consistent and not overwhelm the kids,'' Dillon said. ''It's not that difficult a game.''

After a short pause, the former quarterback with the no-nonsense approach said, ''I'd rather lose with good kids than win with a bunch of ding dongs. Nobody else got this job. I'm going to do what I think is right, and I'm going to surround myself with people who feel the same way I do.''

Now, it's up to Dillon and the Flames to take their best shot.


Long Beach State Hall of Fame:

Played in 1982 and 1983...ranks 3rd all-time with 5,704 passing yards and 3rd all-time with 5,588 (242.9) yards in total offense...completed 498-883 (.564) passes with 23 touchdowns...his 498 completions ranks 3rd all-time...his 453 yards passing and 429 yards in total offense on 10/16/82 at San Jose State are the 2nd-best single game totals in 49er history...his 35 pass completions on 10/30/82 at Fresno State ranks 2nd...in 1982 he averaged 326.0 yards in total offense per game, a mark which led the nation...his 3,517 passing yards in 1982 is the 2nd-best single season mark and his 19 touchdown passes that year is tied for the 4th-best single season mark...1st team all-conference in 1982 and 2nd team in 1983...led the 49ers to a 6-5 mark in 1982 and an 8-3 ledger in 1983, including wins at Kansas State and Hawai’i.