Lorain football coach Dave McFarland has shrugged off coaching awards in the past, saying they are simply team awards that someone placed his name on.
After the Cleveland Browns named McFarland the 2016 High School Coach of the Year on Sunday, he broadened the kudos.
“You don’t get an award like that without the whole community,” McFarland said during a phone interview Sunday night. “That starts with our school principal down to (athletic director) Mr. (Bryan) Koury’s vision for our football program and then to our kids. You don’t get something like this without great support. It’s really cool to see how it’s evolved in three years, and we’ve got people to care and are willing to do the extra things.”
McFarland was one of 10 finalists for the award and was presented the winner’s plaque and a check for $5,000 during halftime of the Browns’ 23-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals at FirstEnergy Stadium.
“I was very surprised,” He said. “There was a lot of pride when those kids came running out. I didn’t even see them coming. It was a really cool thing.”
A big group of Titans players were in attendance, and four — senior defensive tackle James Corbin, senior defensive end/tight end Quentin Pardon, senior tackle/defensive tackle Sly Worthy and junior defensive end/tackle Antonio Wyatt — were allowed to come onto the field and celebrate with McFarland.
The process to become eligible for the award was lengthy. A school had to be one of five weekly finalists for the Browns’ Game of the Week, win the voting to be named the Game of the Week and then win the game for their coach to become a finalist. The finalists were the coaches of the 10 regular-season Game of the Week winning teams. Each regular-season weekly winner also received $2,500 for their football program.
Westlake’s Jason Hall was also one of the 10 finalists thanks to the Demons’ win over North Olmsted in Week 4, and Olmsted Falls’ Tom DeLuca won the Coach of the Week award for the Bulldogs’ regional semifinal win over Westlake in Week 12.
McFarland was the only two-time Coach of the Week winner (vs. Shaw in Week 6 vs. Olentangy in Week 11) and the Titans were the only school voted as Game of the Week three times (vs. Olentangy Liberty in Week 13).
“The community had to vote to get us in these games, the kids had to win the games — they put one guy’s name on it but when you think about that award it’s truly a community award,” McFarland said. “Without the community getting on their computers and voting, and without the leadership of our administration and without the great kids we are coaching, none of that would happen.”
McFarland said the program can always use the money and the Titans will put it to good use, but it was just a bonus to the whole experience.
“The Cleveland Browns … what a wonderful thing they do,” he said. “Not only do they come out to our games and videotape our players and put that up on their website — and the kids just love that — they do such a nice job for all the communities. I’m so impressed with all they’ve done.”
Lorain lost its first two games before rallying to win the next 10, including two playoff games — the first postseason victories in the city’s history. It was the Titans’ second playoff appearance in the last three seasons under McFarland.
“Dave started by finding coaches that cared about the kids first — it wasn’t just the X’s and O’s,” Titans assistant head coach/offensive coordinator Eddie Hall told the Browns. “He really allowed the kids to grow and enjoy football. When you say selfless, it’s McFarland. It’s synonymous.”
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