Above: Mike McFarland, above right, during fall camp when he was coaching at Pasadena last year.
Because I’ve come to realize the strongest fan base is in Temple City, I’ve decided to kickoff the week with a post about your Temple City Rams, specifically the new head honcho, Mike McFarland. Last year I had a Q&A with McFarland when he was hired to be Pasadena’s next football coach. He talked about putting his staff together and his philosophies, among other things. You have to understand one thing: anytime you get on the phone with McFarland you know you’re gonna eat up your minutes, but that’s a good thing. He can talk about a wide range of topics, and I clearly understood that when transcribing quotes from a recent interview. His interview easily went the longest (12 minutes). After talking about Temple City’s depth and experience, we talked about a few other subjects. Some of you have wondered what kind of coach McFarland will be, and I think his answers will give you a good idea of what you’ve landed.
From The Sidelines: Do you believe in the idea that as the football team goes, so goes the rest of the school’s sports program?
Mike McFarland: Honestly, no. A good football season can definitely boost morale and spirit on campus amongst a certain percentage of the student body. There’s always going to be a third that really care, a third in the middle that if you’re doing well they’ll jump on board and love it, and a third of the element that could care less no matter what happens. If you do have a successful football season it does start things out from a spirit standpoint on campus. You get some momentum. But if I’m a basketball coach or a baseball coach, football being successful isn’t going to determine my team’s success that year. So as a coach I don’t believe that. It contributes to the spirit, definitely, but i don’t think it’s going to tip the scales for the athletic program.
FTS: What are your thoughts on sharing athletes?
MM: I was a three-sport athlete. Tim (Sanderson) is a three-sport athlete, Andrew (Anda) is a two-sport athlete. That was a big focus from an administrative standpoint, emphasizing we do share athletes. I’m a big believer in that multi-sport athletes are maximizing their high school experience. It’s good for the development of these kids to be in different competitive situations under different coaches. I think it’s only provides positives. I’m all for it. It means you have to have great communication with your kids. It forces them to mature because they have to be able to make decisions in regards to scheduling over the summer and communicating those decisions to coaches and parents and be able to get themselves to these places. In my own experience It was a good aide being able to manage my time as a high school sophomore and junior, knowing I had basketball here and football here and beign able to juggle all that. We will make it a very successful situation.
FTS: Why are some coaches hesitant about letting their athletes play other sports, and, worse, adamant about telling them they can only play one sport?
MM: I just think there’s a (mentality) especially amongst football coaches that more is better. The elimination of the association rule in part is contributing to the (perception) of that. The answer is if a certain school is winning and going three hours a day we need to go three and a half. And if a school is practicing three times a week we have to (practice) four times a week because that’s how you get better. I think the domination of an athlete in a single sport is the idea that I need that person year round if he’s going to be a good player. It’s up for debate. I believe it is a negative for the development of the player and the person as a whole. If they have a desire to play multiple sports and if you negatively affect that desire by placing an ultimatum you’re doing a disservice to the overall development. If they end up playing multiple sports and doesn’t like it and decides to come back to football and baseball on their own, that’s great. The ability of that kid to make their own decision is the benefit in that, not the coach commanding them to make that decision. It’s one of those things where coaches in all sports get the idea that ‘I gotta have this kid’ or ‘if we’re gonna be any good we have to be together all the time’ and I don’t think that’s true at all.