Bashing coaches not a productive way to support team

For a long time, the best way to describe the Grand Haven varsity football program was "mediocre."
Oct 3, 2013

That’s not to say that there weren’t plenty of positives surrounding the program.

Year-in and year-out, young men learned valuable life lessons while forming long-lasting friendships. But when it came to wins and losses, the Buccaneers suffered more L’s than W’s.

Then Mike Farley came to town, and the program’s fortunes began to change.

In 2008, Farley’s first year, the Bucs finished 4-5. But in his second season, Grand Haven went 9-2, including its first playoff berth in a decade.

The Buccaneers reached the playoffs again in 2010 and 2011, with 8-2 records both years. Despite their success, both of those seasons ended in disappointment due to opening-round playoff losses to West Ottawa and Grand Ledge.

Then, last fall, the Bucs’ run of winning seasons came to an end with a 3-6 mark.

Hopes were high coming into this current season, but things haven’t gone as planned, and Grand Haven currently sits at 1-4, with four difficult O-K Red Conference schools — including West Ottawa and Rockford — yet to come.

With the losing comes the inevitable whisperings that it’s time to make a change at the top. It’s time for a new coach, someone who can come in and shake things up, make a big splash, turn things around.

But wait: Isn’t that exactly what Farley did when he arrived in Grand Haven a few years ago?

The difference was, when Farley came to town, he was blessed with a string of very solid quarterbacks, from Dan Bosch to Brian Kiel to Adam Poel to Scott Staal. He was also blessed with a couple of classes that had enjoyed tremendous success coming up through the system.

Plus, those teams were blessed with some tremendous skill players. Wide receivers Alex Smith and Dan Cotter and running backs Dalton Stenberg and Dakota Smith have all gone on to play college football.

Nothing against the kids that the Buccaneers have wearing the Blue and Gold this year, but there aren’t many college coaches checking out this year’s crop of quarterbacks. In fact, the team’s best athlete coming into the season, Isaak Newhouse, has missed a majority of the year with an injury.

In college, if you need a quarterback, you go recruit one. Same with a hulking left tackle or a lightning-quick cornerback. In the pros, you buy one.

In high school, you don’t have that luxury. You play with the hand you’re dealt. Some classes are better than others. And when you get back-to-back classes with winning traditions and solid athletes, especially at the skill positions, you’re golden.

That’s not to say that a coach doesn’t have anything to do with wins and losses. There are enough programs out there that win every year that it’s clear a coach can make a world of difference, especially when it comes to offensive and defensive schemes, work ethic, organization, and discipline.

But to start screaming for a coach’s job the minute things go awry is a bit hasty — especially in Farley’s case, where he’s proven that, with the right kids, he can win football games.

Instead of bashing the coach and the players for their lack of productivity, support the programs from the lower levels up, because it’s clear that, in high school sports, the best formula for success is to develop the best players from a young age on up. 



Extremely embarrassing to have parents yelling at the coach during the game! You know who you are...keep it shut tomorrow or don't come. Show class and good sportsmanship or don't come.


Well said Pike. We definitely have gotten into a society where competition is higher than ever(which I support) AND holding kids accountable is lower than ever (which is garbage). The people running their mouths and yelling at the coach should walk a mile in his shoes before they go crazy and embarrass themselves and their students.


Wow all this uproar over HS Football! I know families with children in wheelchairs who would love to have their child be the water girl/boy! What good does it do to yell at games when the players hear the negativity. Go to the AD and make your opinions known. Make sure you apply the next time the job is open. Oh by the way Mona went out and recruited players from Muskegon Hts who are now their quarterback and running backs! HMMM and their coach was suspended for recruiting violations! Yes winning is everything apparently!
At the end of every season have the players fill out evaluations!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! DUH
PS how about folks using their REAL names?????


Um, maybe you should look at these Junior and Seniors past records when they were Freshmen and JV. They were beating these teams they are losing to now by the same amount. This team DOES have a string of talented players. When they were Freshmen and JV, they each took 1 loss EACH and the lost was by less than 3 points. They were beating Muskegon, Mona Shores, etc, by 30 to 40 points. Do your research when you are talking about the players from this year. Their history the past few years should make this team a State Ranked team. Same players, different coach...makes you wonder.


It doesn't make me wonder at all. There are a variety of factors that play into forming a team. It is much more than just their past record. You aren't taking into account the state of the other schools programs, kids being pulled up to Varsity, the way a team plays together, etc. A perfect example is Newhouse...things may have been better for the Bucs with him and who knows, maybe during this groups JV year, Muskegon's top player was out and that made the difference in GH's favor. Sure there are always things that a coach can do to make a team better, but you have to take talent into account. Farley is doing a great job and it happens to be a down year...His team competes in one of the most challenging leagues in the state...they will be fine.

Barry Soetoro

Wow. Wonder who one of the screamers in the stands is? It would be helpful if you listed your football coaching experience in your post, Mom.


Just a thought there lady, but did you consider that when the other schools take their "best of" two classes and combine them into one, that they are more talented than GH "best of" two classes. I've been to a couple games this year, I'm not a real scout, but I can assure you there's a lack of talent on the GH side. That has nothing to do with coaching. I'm guessing you're angry because your kid was benched for being even less talented (as his mother, I don't blame you for not recognizing that). Don't take it out on the best coach that GH has seen in 30+ years. GH used to be the game that other schools would try to book for their homecoming to guarantee a win.


This has everything to do with poor coaching....


OK, beachguy, we're both wrong 2007 5-4, 2008 4-5, 2009 9-2. Three years isn't his program it's still the program Hordyski built.


Don’t give Farley too much credit. He inherited a good program built by the previous coaching staff. Going 9-2 his second year is not “HIS” program. He was just in the right place at the right time. This is now his program. I hope he can live up to his billing.


He didn't go 9-2 his 2nd yr...It was his 4th year


OK, beachboyswest, we're both wrong 2007 5-4, 2008 4-5, 2009 9-2. Three seasons isn't his program, it's still the program Hordyski built.


Bashing players is not a productive way to coach a team. Any coach can win with the "right" players. It's the coaches job to win with the players he's got, that's what makes a coach good. Did Lowell and Rockford have a continuous crop of "right" players for the last twenty years? Maybe it's not fair to hold Farley to the standard of Lowell or Rockford but we didn't do that, he did. So if it doesn't happen don't say you didn't have the “right” players.


Rockford & Lowell have two decades of success to fall back on during a dry patch. Rockford is double the size of GHHS. Let's remember that the OK Red is the toughest conference in the state, and if you don't have size, speed and some DI or DII talent, winning is going to be pretty tough.


YES!!!! I love this article and the outrage it will cause among the GH parents. I can't wait for the comments. Let's be honest, traditionally Grand Haven has been an average football team. Since 1950 their all time winning percentage is .536, but in the last 30 years they are .48, which equates to a below average team club. Between 2009-2011 he went 25-6 for a .806 winning percentage. The last time GH put a 3 stretch together like that was from 1958-1960, where they went 21-4-2. So yes, fire your coach who has given you the most success is the last 50 years. Keep yelling parents!


Well Pike thank's for the heads up,you'r right maybe no one will come.
I don't know what trib writer wrote this but! what a snow job.
explain to me why is it that muskegon, west ottawa,Mona,Roskford,Lowel ect take the players they have and turn them into great foot ball players.It was also intersting last week@ E Kentwood who has a new coach how well they they played you could just see such a big diffrence.
well trib and MR Pike I think what is "EXTREMELY embarrassing" is last year and so far this year for the school,the kids,and the town. I will always support the kids and respect them but! something has gone very wrong.Farley knew ahead of time what he was facing and had time to prepair so do you see the teem prepared,I dont..just Farley wimping on the raido about how good the other teem is.


I think what he's trying to provide here is an example of why we want the kids to focus on academics over athletics.




Perfect! Thank you for the hardy laugh.


Thanks for calling me Mr. Pike, I like the respect! So it's OK in your eyes for parents to be yelling at the coach during the game? Is it OK if we stand up and start yelling at a player during the game? You may not agree on what is happening on the field but it is high school no the pro's.


My points are valid,the yelling is out of pure frustrastion when you sit their week by week and see what is going on for the last two years,a time comes when enoughf is enoughf.People have the right to express their opinion an free speech.The parents and fans are to the point of frustration and are angry,it's obivious something is wrong.I will tell you this,the juniors and jv players are watiching this and it's bad well see if they want to play next year for Farley,I played at the old Highschool so I have some idea of how it feels,this program is failing,just open your eyes and you can see the huge diffrence between the two teams, Just Highschool football? It go's far beyond that to day,it's on all the tv stations,Raido and internet,it is the pride of the school and the town,and were looking bad, we are LAST IN THE OK RED DIVISION. Question is how long will it be allowed to go on.


You ask anyone on that team if this isn't a football town or if they aren't working "as hard" as the kids from Lowell and Rockford. These kids have lived and breathed football year round for the past 3-4 years in high school and this is what they get??? This isn't just "football", this is town pride, this is teamwork, this is working hard and not quitting and that's what they have done. AND there is definitely talent on that team. We have the players, we have the money, we have the practices, we have the town, but we need MORE. We SHOULD be competing with Rockford and Lowell. We have kids playing football competively since they were 4 years old. What are those towns doing that we aren't??? Farley even said himself in an interview that this is the most talented team he's coached so far in Grand Haven. THAT was in an interview on the news. So, what's the excuse now?


Just a couple of things: first, welcome to the reality of the OK Red where money cannot easily buy wins. Rockford has 700-800 kids in a class and has had a football program for decades, winning quite a number of state titles/runner-ups. Sometimes talent is trumped by bigger, faster, stronger talent. Lowell has been good forever, and dominant for 20 years, with State titles/etc. GH and SL have had good teams over the years, but they have a much different

Second, athletes change physically at varying degrees. Other teams may have grown or may have had higher "talent ceilings". No matter how hard a kid works, you cannot teach more speed or size to a 185 pound lineman, when the other team has a 250 pounder.

Lastly, Take it easy on the coaches. They are not being paid $500K- multi-million dollar college salaries- most make about $15-$30 a day when you figure all their time involved, and investment/donations out of their own pockets. I have seen coaches make sure some kids have shoes and other specialized equipment so that less advantaged kids may compete. No one sees this. HS coaches absolutely do the work for their "kids", rather than the "paycheck". So, breathe a little before "dishing" on coach. It'll accomplish nothing but create a nasty atmosphere for the athletes, for which you'll be guilty. What'll be your excuse, Mom? Sorry? There are dozens of former coaches in the Tri-Cities who love their schools and "kids", but they are talented coaches who have had enough of that game...and called it a day.


That's funny!! You just pulled out the "Free Speech" card in a conversation about yelling at a coach from the stands.....


ghjhs, you better check your facts, Mona has one of the consistently bad football programs in the area since the chartering of the school in the 1960's. The Muskegon Hts school of choice kids have brought wins to that program the past 3 years. Also, West Ottawa has never beaten Muskegon or Rockford and they we're hardpressed to win a game in the 1990's. So I wouldn't put those two programs in with Rock, Musk. Maybe you should have said East, Ravanna and Oakridge.


While great programs in a lower tier Ravenna & Oakridge would not be able to handle the top 2/3s of OK Red on a weekly basis just as GVSU could not handle the Big Ten. Just my 2 cents


True that Highlander...actually I think they would be hard pressed to win a game from the bottom tier of the OK RED. It is proven to be the best Football conference in the state year after year.


Let the coach, coach and parents, parent!! Parents quit creating an excuse for your student athlete. Your child looks up to your opinions. You are not helping the team by putting this sort of negativity in your child's head. It will reflect in the unity of the team.




Was he diagnosed with a concussion?


Post a Comment

Log in to your account to post comments here and on other stories, galleries and polls. Share your thoughts and reply to comments posted by others. Don't have an account on Create a new account today to get started.