By Michael Bower
Quenton Meeks’ childhood had in it what many aspiring young athletes could only dream about: NFL locker rooms, NFL players, NFL games and even a Super Bowl-winning celebration in the rain.
But the best part about it all for the Del Norte High junior was being able to spend time with his father, Ron Meeks, who has over 20 years of defensive coaching experience at the highest level in the world.
It was getting to see him — not Peyton Manning, not Reggie Wayne, not Bob Sanders, not Marvin Harrison and the list goes on — that was the real treat because it didn’t happen often.
The demands of being an NFL coach are high and Quenton, whose parents have been separated since he was 2, lived with his mom, Nicole Mitchell, for most of his childhood.
“Spending time with my dad was way better than the NFL guys,” said the 6-foot, 2-inch, 185-pound defensive back and wide receiver for the Nighthawks. “Being around them for me was really just a bonus.”
Nowadays Ron and Quenton do not have to wait so long in between father-and-son meetings. Ron is enjoying a year away from the NFL as a volunteer coach at Del Norte and his daughter, Sadie Meeks, who is a sophomore at Del Norte, and Quenton are living with him.
“When I was coaching in the NFL it was tough,” said Ron, who got his start with the Dallas Cowboys in 1991 and had stints with the Cincinnati Bengals (1992-1996), Atlanta Falcons (1997-1999), Washington Redskins (2000), St. Louis Rams (2001), Indianapolis Colts (2002-2008), Carolina Panthers (2009-2010) and the San Diego Chargers (2012). “Now I get a chance to be close to my kids, eat breakfast and have dinner with them and take them to school. It is a blessing to have this opportunity and it has been fun for me.”
Life as a son of a Super Bowl-winning coach leads to high expectations from outsiders, especially when your goal is to reach the NFL at the very position your father has coached for years, defensive back.
“I feel a little pressure, but a lot of that is self-imposed because my dad always tells me he is going to be proud of me no matter what,” said Quenton, who was crushed when he broke his left foot in the middle of last year and missed out on a chance to move up to the varsity team. “I like to put a higher standard on myself because my goal is to make it to the NFL one day.”
Quenton is a very well-spoken young man with a joy for life, as he laughed and smiled his way through the entire 40-minute interview outside of a classroom at Del Norte High. Much of that assuredly comes from his father, who has an infectious love for life.
“Ron has been coaching for 20 or 30 years at the highest level and for him to have such a high level of energy and excitement to coach high school kids is amazing,” Del Norte football coach Leigh Cole said. “Just the way he enjoys life and wakes up in the morning and is happy to be here is special and it rubs off on everyone.”