andrew olson headshot.jpg

Andrew Olson

Two weeks ago, a classroom full of Northridge High students got a big surprise.

It was Andrew Olson.

Olson is a captain in the Army National Guard and had been on deployment for the previous five months, four months of which were in Afghanistan.

He returned to the United States earlier than expected, told some basketball players' parents he was coming home and they suggested he surprise the players. Administration and football head coach Braden Mitchell got on board.

Under the guise of a guest speaker coming to class that day, the students sat in a classroom. Olson was hiding behind the school, snuck in through a side door and walked into the classroom wearing full military attire, a moment captured on video that went viral across several platforms and outlets.

"When I walked in that door and just the charge of kids coming in, it was a wave of emotion. It was a really special moment that made me realize how special Northridge really is and how respectful how those kids are," Olson said Friday.

A lot of his students, basketball and football players kept in touch while he was abroad. They sent him care packages and birthday cards. He also had a Northridge Knights flag hanging in his room.

To say they were excited to see him back would be an understatement. And Olson's planning on sticking around for awhile.

Olson's been picked as the next boys basketball coach for the Knights, the school announced earlier this week. He heard the position was opening, vacated by Lyndon Johnson taking the Ben Lomond football coach job.

Pretty much right after he hugged his wife and children upon returning home, he applied for the job. Olson has taught U.S. History and government at the school since the 2017-18 school year.

"I'm extremely excited. Northridge is a really special place, I've coached at several different schools, when I came to Northridge, there's something different about it," Olson said.

Olson attended Roy High, where his sophomore basketball coach was Brock Randall (former Northridge assistant now coaching boys hoops at Ogden) and where the varsity basketball coach was Lyndon Johnson. He said he wouldn't have been at Northridge unless it was for Johnson.

Right out of high school, he coached basketball at Sand Ridge Junior High, then assisted at Roy High under Dan McClure, taught/coached at Pinnacle High in Price for two years and taught/coached at Utah Military Academy for two years before coming to Northridge.

Now that he's back in the U.S., there's no rest for the weary. Olson's returning to his teaching assignment Monday.

You can reach prep sports reporter Patrick Carr via email at pcarr@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter @patrickcarr_ and on Facebook at facebook.com/patrickcarr17/.

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