BEREA -- Lorain coach Dave McFarland was surprised when Browns coach Hue Jackson appeared in the lobby of team headquarters Wednesday afternoon.
He was stunned when Jackson told him the reason for the visit.
The Browns are sending McFarland to the Pro Bowl in Orlando, Fla., as part of the recognition for being named High School Coach of the Year by the Browns.
“That’s more than generous,” McFarland said.
“You deserve it,” Jackson said after a big handshake. “Tremendous job by you and your kids and your staff.”
McFarland was announced as the winner Sunday during halftime of the loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. The Titans football program received $7,500 for the honor, and McFarland got an all-expenses-paid trip to the NFL’s all-star game in late January.
McFarland will represent the Browns as Cleveland’s Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year nominee and can earn an additional $15,000 in grants for Lorain’s program if named the recipient.
“The whole thing’s been a wonderful surprise,” he said. “Very humbling.”
The Titans started 0-2, then reeled off 10 straight wins, including two in the playoffs.
“We wish some of the magic rubbed off here,” Jackson said.
The postseason run delayed McFarland’s partial knee replacement until last Thursday. He’s on crutches and in some pain.
“But this has made it fun,” he said.
McFarland lit up when he saw Jackson, who stopped between practice and his news conference, which McFarland watched from the back of the room. McFarland told Jackson he’s been a Browns fan his whole life and thanked the Browns for sending players to talk to the Titans earlier this year.
“I’m honored to be here,” McFarland said. “What a great honor to meet Hue Jackson. I’m like a little kid. It’s exciting for me. This is a wonderful thing.”
He again thanked everyone associated with the Titans program.
“We’ve got great kids and a great community. If they’re not doing the right things, we’re not here,” McFarland said. “How lucky can I be working with kids that need a lot of love and attention and get to do something I enjoy doing like coaching.
“You wouldn’t have known when we were 0-2 all this was going to happen. So I’m really proud of our kids and our mission there.”