The head coaching carousel is starting earlier this year. With Margarito Beltran stepping down at Bell Gardens there are six openings already in the local coverage area. Throw in Garey and that makes seven.
I don’t have any leads on who will fill any of the positions as of yet. Plenty of rumors but nothing concrete. What makes things more interesting is that the jobs that are open are plum positions. Arroyo, where Jim Singiser was at helm for 17 years, is always in the mix for a league title. West Covina was an area power for many years under Mike Maggiore and has just fallen off the last couple of years and Bell Gardens has the potential for immediate success. Then there is Charter Oak.
While the other jobs may seem like a perfect landing spot for a young coach or a coach looking for a fresh start, Charter Oak may not be a good fit. Why? Simple. It’s not easy replacing a legend. Talk about having big shoes to fill, these are size 14s.
Replacing Lou Farrar is like taking over for John Wooden at UCLA or Vince Lombardi at Green Bay. The Dodgers despite some recent success, are still trying to find a manager to adequately replace Tommy Lasorda. Anybody remember who took over as head coach for the Chicago Bulls when Phil Jackson resigned? Nether do I.
It’s tough duplicating greatness. With Farrar it wasn’t just the success but the duration. Who stays at one school for 39 years? And keeps the team relevant and on the radar for 39 years? Nobody did it like Farrar and although I don’t want to say nobody ever will let’s just say the chances are slim. I mean, they just named the field after him.
Although I didn’t know Coach Farrar as well as some he always took the time to talk to me when I requested or asked him a question. After the 2017 season ended there were rumors swirling about that Farrar was going to retire. He had already made his decision, according to some, and was going to hang up the headset. But the announcement never came.
So on a Saturday in May 2018 at the annual Charter Oak 7 on 7 passing tournament I saw Farrar on the sidelines on the main football field as things were just getting underway. We talked about the past season, and the upcoming year and how the team looked going forward. It was clear that he had no intentions of retiring so I asked him. “Coach I heard you were going to retire. Is that true?
He turned serious, looked at me and said “I can’t retire now. My grandson, who is going to be a freshman this year, told me ‘I want to play for you papa.’”
Not “I want to win another championship” or “hear the roar of the crowd again” but instead “My grandson wants to play for me.” That was his reason for not retiring.
Just like that. Because he put his family first, he stayed on as head coach. He went on to tell me that yes, he had been considering retirement but when his grandson told him that he just couldn’t do it. Now, there may have been other reasons as well, and he did still love the game but that was the deciding factor. That was the type of man Lou Farrar was.
To the next head football coach at Charter Oak I wish you all the best. I admire you because you’re taking on a monumental challenge. It’s a historic program built by a historic man. But it is a chance to carry on a great tradition.
He was a phenomenal coach, a wonderful mentor and a great leader of young man. But most of all he was “papa” – a great papa. Rest in Peace Coach.
That’s my principle.
Tim can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @tspeterson40.