Michael Farda, right, has stepped down after four season as Hinkley’s head football coach. Farda, who plans to return to his home state of Texas with his family after the school year, led the Thunderbirds to a 13-7 mark over the past two seasons. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Sentinel Colorado)

AURORA | Michael Farda, the architect of a winning resurgence with the Hinkley football team over the past two seasons, has stepped down after four years on the job.

The energetic Farda arrived from Texas in 2016 and he informed the Sentinel that he had resigned prior to winter break and he and his family plan to return to their home state at the end of the school year.

Hinkley athletic director Rodney Padilla has posted the job on the Aurora Public Schools website (here) and will take applications through the close on Jan. 20. Padilla said he is hoping to be able to offer a teaching position to the next coach and he hopes to find somebody familiar with the school’s demographics.

Gateway (story) and Overland (story) are in the process of filling their coaching vacancies. Both openings have closed.

When Farda came to Hinkley from Texas — where he was the head coach at Maypearl ISD in Maypearl, Texas, following in the football steps of his late father Michael Sr., who coached for 26 years at Nimitz High School in Irving — he brought an end to a period of heavy turnover on the Hinkley sidelines.

Prior to Farda’s arrival, the program had four coaches in the previous five seasons as Bob Bozied (2011), Joe McKain (2012), Jaren Cohen (2013) and Robbie O’Brien (2014 & 2015) held the post for at least one season during that span.

Stuck in the 5A Mount Evans Conference — the product of the Colorado High School Activities Association’s waterfall realignment system — the Thunderbirds went through an 0-10 campaign in Farda’s first season as they battled the likes of Pomona, which was on the cusp of winning the state championship.

Hinkley snapped a 13-game losing streak with a victory over Thornton during a 1-9 2017 season and then shot up to 6-4 in 2018 in their first season moving back to 4A with a new set of non-league opponents as well as a spot in the Pioneer League.

In 2019, Hinkley went 5-0 in non-league play, dropped three straight — including a undefeated showdown with fellow Aurora Public Schools program Vista PEAK in Pioneer League play — then won its final two to give the program its most wins (seven) in at least the past 16 seasons.

At 7-3, the Thunderbirds finished 18th in the Class 4A RPI, which left them two positions shy of qualifying for the postseason.

Hinkley had four All-Pioneer League first team selections and expects to return one of them in senior-to-be running back Ty’Ren Draper, who racked up 1,533 yards rushing and scored 15 total touchdowns. Senior-to-be Dorian Fox and junior-to-be Keenan Starks earned second team all-league accolades (full All-Pioneer League teams, here).

Hinkley will change coaches, classifications and conferences yet again in 2020 as it moves back up to 5A and joins one of the two divisions of the Metro 10 conference along with APS rival Rangeview, another Aurora entry in Overland as well as Denver East, Far Northeast and Prairie View.

According to Padilla, the Thunderbirds’ schedule next season will also include Erie, rival Aurora Central, Monarch, Kennedy and Castle View in non-league play.

Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports


2019: 7-3 overall (2-3 in 4A Pioneer League); 2018: 6-4 overall (2-3 in 4A Pioneer League); 2017: 1-9 overall (0-5 in 5A Mount Evans League); 2016: 0-10 overall (0-5 in 5A Mount Evans League)