Home / FOOTBALL / New (previous) Grand Haven football coach ready to face OK Red ‘arms race’ – MLive.com

New (previous) Grand Haven football coach ready to face OK Red ‘arms race’ – MLive.com

Ten years ago, when Mike Farley was head coach of the Grand Haven football program, he could see an “arms race” taking place in the OK Red Conference for top-notch stadiums.

Upon his return as Grand Haven’s coach after six years away, Farley sees the arms race shifting to strength-training facilities and weight-lifting programs.

Keep up or get left behind. That’s how it is in the rough-and-tumble OK Red, and Farley intends on instilling a roll-up-your-sleeves mentality with the Buccaneers.

It was officially announced on Wednesday that Farley is returning to Grand Haven, where he amassed a 44-32 record with three playoff appearances and one OK Red title from 2006 to 2013.

“Everybody has upgraded their stadiums and have turf stadiums and (wanted to) be able to have great facilities like that,” Farley recalled from his previous tenure in Grand Haven. “Where now, coming back here, it’s kind of an arms race for strength and strength-training facilities, weight programs.

“Everybody’s really upped their game in the OK Red and really upped their game across West Michigan. They’re really starting to get these weight rooms and facilities like colleges. Some facilities in the OK Red are better than most Division III or Division II weight rooms across the country.”

While he noted that his in-school role is not yet official, Farley believes he’ll be teaching strength training at Grand Haven High School. He intends on helping Buccaneers athletes of all sports, not just football players.

Farley, who resigned from Grand Haven in May 2014 to take the offensive coordinator job at South Effingham High School near Savannah, Ga., was rehired by Grand Haven to fill the position vacated by Joe Nelson’s resignation early last month.

Farley returned to Michigan in 2019 and spent one season as head football coach at Ionia, which finished the season 3-6. He publicly thanked Ionia’s school, administration, community, parents and players for welcoming him with open arms.

Farley is eager to return to Grand Haven, which “feels like home” to him. He’s ready to take the torch from Nelson, who stepped down after going 10-19 in three seasons at the helm. The Bucs are coming off a 6-5 season, which included the program’s first playoff appearance since 2011 and first postseason victory in 10 years.

Grand Haven football coach Mike Farley

Mike Farley is shown coaching the Grand Haven football team during his previous tenure with the Buccaneers in 2006-13.

“Joe’s done a really good job getting the numbers back up. I know the numbers were up in the Young Bucs organization and in the middle school and the high school,” Farley said. “I worked with Joe back in 2006 and 2007, but I’ve known Joe for a long time and I just commend him for the job he did, getting numbers back up in the program, getting interest in the football program.”

Farley, who was selected the Michigan Associated Press Divisions 1-2 coach of the year in 2009, has compiled a 79-60 record in 24 seasons as a high school head coach. Farley’s other coaching stops include Covington Holmes in Kentucky (12-11) and Comstock (20-11).

Coaching football is a fraternity, it’s been said, and Farley has many friends leading programs in the Muskegon and Grand Rapids areas.

Farley, 50, comes from a football family. Older brother Scott Farley is the head coach at Jackson High School and he’s also executive director of the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association.

Job one for Farley in his return to Grand Haven, he said, is to ensure the Buccaneers have the positive culture and mentality that was apparent in the late-2000s.

With realignment in the OK Conferences coming in the 2020-21 school year, the OK Red is adding Jenison to make it an eight-school league. Grand Haven is in the middle of the pack according to enrollment numbers.

Since the last time he coached at Grand Haven, several coaching staffs in the OK Red have changed. The strong traditions remain, however. Farley knows it won’t be easy, but it wasn’t the last time and he fared pretty well.

“It’s got to come from hard work. We have to outwork our opponents. We’ve got to do it in the weight room, we’ve got to do it out on the field in the summertime doing the agility and the sprints and the conditioning and doing all those things,” he said.

“It’s such a competitive conference, everybody’s doing it. I can guarantee you that Hudsonville, Grandville, Rockford – they’re all grinding. I felt like the success that we had was because our kids worked their tails off the years I was at Grand Haven and that’s what we’ve got to be able to get back.”

MORE:

Mona Shores hosting ring ceremony, state-finals replay for championship football team

Check Also

Here’s the biggest factor in college football returning this fall – Yahoo Sports

The biggest question looming over the collegiate athletics landscape is a simple one: “Will there …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *