Prodoehl is more than a teacher

Ananya Nag and Brynn Kan, Staff Writers

Former EMT, part time professional fisherman, and current Cal High teacher Danny Prodoehl has done it all. 

Prodoehl has been a biology teacher at Cal for three years now, but his time before Cal extends far beyond a small classroom in San Ramon. 

The journey all started after college. Upon graduating with a biology degree, Prodoehl still wasn’t sure what he wanted to do, so he decided to join the Tahoe Ski Patrol as a paramedic. This new passion encouraged him to pursue a career in emergency medicine. 

“My first call I ever went on [as an emergency medical technician was] when I was still training. [The] patient was a former marine that went into cardiac arrest,” Prodoehl said. “I had to do CPR on [him]. That was probably my most anxious moment because I was like, ‘Wow is this what everyday is going to be like?’”

This would prove to be an unusual call, as a majority of his calls dealt with putting out fires and saving burning houses in San Diego. Prodoehl also occasionally worked on the field inside the stadium during San Diego Chargers or Padres games. 

But doing this for four years, Prodoehl was forced to quit due to a career ending injury. 

“I tore pretty much every ligament tendon in my knee,” Prodoehl said. “[That’s when] I decided to fall back on my degree.” 

With his degree, Prodoehl decided to become a teacher. Before coming to Cal, he taught sports medicine at Mt. Diablo High School in Concord for nine years. 

But Prodehl’s past jobs and current hobbies show that Prodoehl is more than just a normal teacher.

“All of us biology teachers, whether it be me or [Kusy]Espinoza or Prodoehl, try to incorporate some part of our passions and personal life into our teaching,” AP Biology teacher Andrew White said. “It’s nice to have someone like Prodoehl…[His] life and hobbies are truly based in the biology he teaches.” 

Prodoehl’s love for biology has been a constant in his life as seen through his passion for fishing, a hobby he learned from his dad. He has been fishing for his whole life, and many of his colleagues associate him with it. 

“[I’ve never gone fishing with him, but if I did], I would be like ‘Oh my god, kill me now. This is the most boring thing ever!’ And he’d be like ‘FIISSHHH!’,” biology teacher Kusy Espinoza said. 

Prodoehl’s passion extends far beyond a simple hobby. Prodoehl competed as a professional fisher for three years and now only competes part time. While he participates in local tournaments, he has also competed in national tournaments, such as the U.S. Open. 

During these competitions he has been sponsored by brands such as Rockstar and Toyota. In order to be sponsored, Prodoehl promotes companies by hosting seminars and outdoor conventions where he teaches fishing.

A regular bass-fishing tournament takes place over three days. The competitors ride out in a boat and try to catch a bigger fish each day, in order to increase the overall weight. 

“The biggest fish I caught was 14.96 pounds,” Prodoehl said. “That was the largest bass I’ve ever caught.” 

While Prodoehl doesn’t always have time to participate in fishing tournaments, his passion for it is still seen in his personality and classroom. 

“[If I were a fish], I would be a blue-fin tuna,” Prodoehl said. “They get up to a 1,000 pounds and they’re the fastest, and strongest, fish in the ocean. They seem athletic to me.” 

But Prodehl’s students know him as more than just a former EMT and professional fisher. Every day the students are taught by a someone who genuinely looks out for his class. 

“[Prodoehl] makes sure that everyone is learning,” sophomore Cole Muller said. “He speaks in a nice tone, not a mean one, so you actually want to listen and not just tune [him] out.”    

Maybe he doesn’t fit the idea of a typical teacher, but Prodoehl is everything a student can hope for.

“He’s chill, fair, and helpful,” freshman Maya Chakravarthi said.