Lincoln High football coach tackles low literacy rates in Valencia Park community

football players reading to kids at Malcolm X Library
Posted at 1:59 PM, Nov 15, 2023

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — He's already considered one of the top high school football coaches in San Diego, but David Dunn's impact goes far beyond the gridiron.

ABC 10News sports director Ben Higgins reports on how November's 10News Leadership Award winner saw a pressing need in the community of Valencia Park and set out to tackle it.

When other coaches talk about books, they usually mean the playbook.

Not Lincoln High School's David Dunn.

"We really have a problem with reading comprehension in our community," Dunn says. "When I was coaching youth football, I realized that our 13 and 14 year olds on our team were reading at a 3rd grade level."

Dunn's solution? Get players from his team to read books to kids at the Malcolm X Library in Valencia Park

"They're proud to come and read, and a lot of kids are nervous about reading," Dunn says.

"That's not my monster, its paws are too bumpy," a player read from a children's book.

"I've never had so many kids excited about reading. It works, and I love it, and as long as they love it, we'll cut practice short and make time for it," Dunn says.

And his players say they do love it, as well as coach Dunn's impact on their lives.

EUGENE RICE "He's over the top, does the absolute most for us as players, his family, and puts us in the position that we need to be," player Eugene Rice says.

"They're being viewed right now in our community as leaders, people that's doing something extremely positive, and we want to share that with our kids," Dunn says.

Because of his commitment to literacy for the children in his community, ABC 10News and Lead San Diego chose coach David Dunn and his Day II Day Foundation as our 10News Leadership Award winner for the month of November.

If you would like to nominate someone for the 10News Leadership Award, follow this link.