**The new thread “Behind the Feature” debuted last week and seemed to be a hit with you guys. In that spirit, I’m implementing this new thread as well and we’re calling it “10 Questions with … ” The subject of this edition is newly hired Pasadena football coach Mike McFarland.**
On Thursday, Pasadena High School announced Mike McFarland would be the next football coach. A product of Arcadia High, McFarland previously coached at Muir, Keppel, Occidental College, Minnesota State University-Moorhead and most recently as tight ends coach at Missouri Western University. McFarland lettered in football, basketball and track and he earned his bachelor of arts degree in social sciences from California Lutheran University in 1997.
McFarland recently took some time from his busy schedule in St. Joseph, Mo., to talk with the Star-News about his hiring.
Question: Mike, you’ve bounced around from place to place and have spent a good time in the Midwest. What’s it like to finally be coming back home?
Answer: It’s very exciting. I’m from Arcadia and obviously spent a good portion of my time in southern California and in the San Gabriel Valley in particular. My wife (Tiffany) is from Pasadena so we’re very excited to be coming home to be around friends and family. It’s going to be a real positive thing to go home, that part is (a) real attractive part of (this) position.
Q: Not only do you get to come home and be with friends and family but you get to do what you love here where you grew up playing sports.
A: It is a special to go home and coach in an area that I grew up playing football. In terms of Pasadena itself, growing up I witnessed first hand the players and teams they had in football and basketball and just growing up playing youth sports having a ton of respect for the competition.
Q: Mike, how do you plan on changing the stigma that Muir is a football school and Pasadena is a basketball school?
A: I think what’s funny is — and I’m speaking out of terms because I’m not part of the older generation — you talk to older people and they’ll tell you the opposite. Pasadena was the football power, but number one I think it goes in a cycle. From a football stand point, Muir has that rivalry on lock right now because of the winning streak. When the rivalry is that one-sided, those kinds of perceptions will (come up). I coached basketball at Muir in the late 90’s and we had a great team.
Q: Have you had the opportunity to meet the team and speak with them yet?
A: I haven’t gotten an opportunity to meet them. That first talk I think is a little bit overrated. it’s just an opportunity for players to get their first impression. in that situation the most important thing is to get their attention. I’ve got literally things I can’t think about I’ll have to do once I get out there and rolling.
Q: Such as?
A: Those things will include putting a staff and evaluating what we have and watch last season’s games and evaluate what the talent level is and what we have coming back. Obviously, academically we’ll have to look and see how guys are performing and make sure we finish the year strong so everybody we’re counting on playing will continue to participate.
Q: How quick will we see you put a coaching staff together?
A: It’s not something I’ll do immediately. It’s not like in college where in the off-season you have to get a staff together quickly so you can recruit. In this situation, here I think it’s crucial to make sure we find the right guys that are interested. As of right now I don’t have any preconceived notions about anybody. i have not had any opportunity to talk to anybody that was on staff.
Q: What immediate steps do you take once you arrive?
A: The off-season program, when it comes to strength and conditioning, that will be something we’ll implement.
Q: How soon can we expect to have you in town?
A: My goal is to be out there beginning of April and if for some reason the getting-cleared takes longer then I’ll have to wait it out.
Q: What will you be teaching at Pasadena?
A: Well, my degree is in social science so I imagine it’ll be something in that subject whether it’s history or government.
Q: Is your family coming along with you, too?
A: My family will be coming out in June. My two stepdaughters (Breanna and Brittany) are going to finish school here in Missouri. I also have a newborn (3 months) so we don’t want to rush the moving part. I have friends and family who I can bum off of for a while until we get settled.