AURORA | Michael Farda’s model of stability for a high school football coach came from right inside the walls of his family’s home in football-rich Texas.
Farda — a 31-year-old Texas native who has been hired as Hinkley’s next head football coach — played at Nimitz High School in Irving for his father, Michael Farda Sr., who coached the program to 159-101-8 record in 26 seasons with the same program.
Farda Sr. passed away in 2010 after fighting cancer for 19 months, just a year after his son had his first chance as a head football coach at Maypearl ISD in Maypearl, Texas. The younger Farda has since moved on to be an assistant coach, most recently at Venus High School, and he now has a chance to start a new chapter of his coaching career in Aurora.
“I have a very skewed vision of what a high school football coach should be because my daddy was my hero growing up and I was blessed to play for him in high school,” Farda told the Sentinel.
“Not to say that football is life, but I saw my dad run a program for 26 years in Irving and he coached all of us boys. I know what kind of impact that had on me and that’s something I want to establish…My family is coming with me and this is not a light transition for us. We’re setting down roots and hopefully that commitment will be conveyed.”
Farda is Texas prep football, through and through.
“I was born on a Friday night in August and the next Friday I was in the bleachers because Aug. 31, that was in football season,” Farda said wryly. “I didn’t know what a birthday party was until I was 22, because it was always football season.”
By moving his family, Farda plans to establish some stability for a Hinkley program that now has its fifth head football coach in the past six seasons. The Thunderbirds’ longest-lasting coach in that span, Robbie O’Brien, left to become an assistant coach at the Colorado School of Mines after two seasons.
Farda — who was on the coaching staff at Venus High School, which finished 3-8 in 2015 while playing in the Division II Class 4A classification — emerged from a group of around 25 candidates according to Hinkley athletic director Tristen Fibiger. He follows O’Brien (2014 & 2015), Jaren Cohen (2013), Joe McKain (2012) and Bob Bozied (2011) as Thunderbirds’ coaches in the past six years.
“Hinkley was fortunate enough to meet Coach Farda in person and was very impressed by his background and knowledge of football, as well as his relational skills with peers and students,” Fibiger told the Sentinel.
“He has a strong work ethic and passion for winning, but keeps the students at the forefront of every decision, which aligns well with what Hinkley values,” she added.
Fibiger said the search for a new football coach would be a national search and she was right, especially when Farda applied for the position, the only one he saw available online in Colorado.
Looking for a new opportunity, Farda said he and his wife had a discussion about not being “married to Texas,” so he searched out possibilities outside of his home state.
Farda admitted he’d never been to Colorado, but his wife assured him he would love it. She was correct and he also relished the feel he got for Aurora and the area around Hinkley, which he said felt remarkably like the area in Irving — part of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex — where his high school was located.
“It was a longshot opportunity, but my goodness did it ever work out,” Farda said. “It’s something we are anxiously looking forward to.”
An English teacher at Venus, he is currently also coaching the school’s boys soccer team and will finish out the school year before he and his family move to Colorado. Farda is still working out classroom details, but expects to be part of Hinkley’s English department or use his special education certification.
Farda takes over a Hinkley football program that went 3-7 in 2015, an improvement over a 2-8 2014 season. The Thunderbirds made the Class 5A state playoffs in 2013 under Cohen, who then departed for Ponderosa.
Hinkley’s top talent, lineman Anthony Wilson, signed with Colorado State-Pueblo, but a few key pieces are expected to return next season.
Ramzee Howard — the Thunderbirds’ starting quarterback the past two seasons and coming off a season in which he threw for 1,425 yards and 11 touchdowns — will be a senior and should have a weapon back in wide receiver Jermohd Ford.
Based on the new realignment approved by the Colorado High School Activities Association for the next two years, the Thunderbirds will play in a conference that includes another Aurora team — Cherokee Trail — in addition to 5A state runner-up Pomona, along with Chaparral, Mountain Vista and Rock Canyon.
Coincidentally, Cherokee Trail is the other Aurora football program with a new coach hired since the end of the 2015 season, as longtime assistant Dain Mangnall was tabbed to take over after original coach Monte Thelen stepped down.
With Mangnall and Farda in the fold, Aurora has no known head football coaching vacancies ahead of the 2016 season.
Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel