Bob Burns: Former Carson High School football coach Ed Jesse will be missed

I was sad to learn of the passing of Ed Jesse.

My name is Bob Burns, I was the track and field coach at Carson High School during the 1960s, and one of Ed’s two assistant football coaches. Tony Savenelli was Ed’s other assistant coach. I worked with the backfield, and Tony with the line.

My first recollection of Ed Jesse was in 1949 when I was a freshman at Yerington High School. The newspapers had several reports about a nationally ranked high school quarterback coming to the University of Nevada all the way from Wisconsin to be the successor to Stan Heath, the legendary quarterback who set many records while at Nevada. Needless to say, that created high expectations for Jesse. Ed was Nevada’s quarterback in 1949, 1953 and 1954.

Due to a funding problem, the university discontinued the football program in 1950-1952. During the hiatus, Ed served three years in the U.S. Army Airborne. After his discharge in 1956, Ed came back to Nevada, finished his bachelor’s and master’s degrees and took his first coaching-teaching job in Fallon, where he was an assistant football coach. In 1958, Ed became the head football coach at Lovelock, where several of his teams won conference championships and played for state titles. In 1962 Ed succeeded Harry Dickson as Carson High School’s head football coach.

I was appointed assistant coach shortly after Ed arrived. I asked him what my role would be, and he said, “Your main job is to make the players faster and stronger.” Needless to say, I thought long and hard about my new charge. I will say other duties were added as I learned more about his system. I had to learn many new terms including: over, cover, seal, pull, check on/off, hand drill, monkey roll, run hard but relax, hand drill, snap count drill, wide tackle-6 and many more. Each of these terms called for a specific action. It was a totally new language. His game planning was amazing. He would use a chess board with 22 pieces (11 on offense and 11 on defense). He would set the other team’s offense on the board and move the defensive pieces to illustrate various ways to stop them. He would discuss the options after each move.

Needless to say, I thought my dear friend Ed Jesse was a wonderful coach, teacher and person. As a football coach, Ed was ahead of his time! It was a sad day when he decided to retire from the coaching profession! I always thought he might end his career in a major university as a successful football coach. I was pleased, though, when I learned he was inducted into the Carson High School Hall of Fame. An honor he well deserved!

Finally, I’m not sure if I made the players faster and stronger, but I did learn a whole new language from my good friend Ed Jesse. I will miss him!

Bob Burns was a track and field coach at Carson High School from 1960 to 1969.


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