MIGUEL MELENDEZ COLUMN
This column will appear on Page 3B of the Star-News sports section on Friday, March 20
Well, it’s about time.
It only took four months but Pasadena High School finally has a new football coach.
He is Mike McFarland. He replaces Kevin Mills who resigned in November.
Despite word leaking on the Star-News’ preps blog (www.insidesocal.com/paspreps) that McFarland was hired, Pasadena principal Derek Evans would not confirm or deny the hiring.
He said he wanted the announcement to be done in a professional matter, and by that he meant he wanted us to wait until the school sent out an official press release.
For a school that needed four months to comb through resumes, handling this in a “professional” matter seems farfetched.
Pasadena was the first school to announce a vacancy and it’s the second to last school to hire a new coach.
Temple City, the second school in the West San Gabriel Valley to announce a football coaching vacancy after Pasadena, still is going through the final process and is expected to present a finalist to the school board in a meeting Wednesday.
For what it’s worth, Evans explained the prolonged process.
The job vacancy was listed not only on EdJoin.org and on the CIF-Southern Section Web site but also on icoach.com, a Web site dedicated in helping match and notify candidates about vacancies across the nation. It’s there where McFarland found the vacancy.
Just under 40 applications were submitted and a list of four finalists was narrowed to two.
McFarland was offered the job Wednesday night and accepted on Thursday.
“That’s why I couldn’t tell you (Wednesday),” Evans said.
McFarland notified Evans on Thursday he would fly to California to get finger prints taken. As an assistant football coach at Missouri Western University, McFarland’s finger prints can be located on the national database, but because he will teach social science at Pasadena, McFarland had to go through the process again as indicated under California guidelines.
“I am confident everything will go through,” Evans said. “(There’s) nothing in his background that will present a problem.”
McFarland was in his second season as tight ends coach at Missouri Western after a stint as running backs coach at Minnesota State University-Moorhead. He then coached the offensive line in the spring of 2007 and he also served as the primary academic coordinator for the football team, according to the Missouri Western media guide.
He also coached football at Occidental College, Muir and coached softball at Keppel.
He graduated from Arcadia where he lettered in football, basketball and track, and he earned his B.A. in social sciences from California Lutheran in 1997.
Sounds like Pasadena made a wise choice but fans still grew impatient during this seemingly tenuous process.
“We wanted to make certain we made the best hire,” Evans said. “That was my objective. I wanted to find the best.”
There’s a misconception that if the boys basketball team needed a coach, the school would not have taken as long in the hiring process. I said as much to Evans.
“If individuals want to analyze it that way, that is up to them,” Evans responded. “I know what we wanted.
“My thing is I was not going to rush. I was going to take my time to find the right person. Why? Because the football season (was) over and we (could) afford to take our time.
“If it was basketball I would have taken the same amount of time.”
But now this means the team is five steps behind every team that’s had time to weight lift and bond in the offseason.
“I firmly disagree,” Evans replied. “If you don’t find the right person you’re going to be five steps behind for years. If you find the right person, there will be gaps that can be overcome in no time. We’ll might be behind a little but we’ll get there with the right person.”
When reached by telephone in St. Joseph, Mo., McFarland was excited about coming home.
In McFarland, the Bulldogs will get a no-nonsense coach with an emphasis on academics. He said he won’t rush into putting together a staff and he hopes to be in Pasadena by the beginning of April.
“We’ve been in the Midwest for a few years,” McFarland said. “It’s going to be a real positive thing to go home and be around friends and family.”
Well, it’s about time.
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