Written by Corbett Smith
Former Irving Nimitz coach Mike Farda dies after battle with cancer
Mike Farda, longtime Irving Nimitz head coach before becoming athletic consultant at Maypearl ISD, died Monday night after a 19-month battle with cancer. Farda was 65.
Known for his Wing-T formation and an intense and inspirational personality on the sideline, Farda guided Nimitz for 26 seasons, leaving in 2006 with a 159-101-8 record during his tenure. He was 209-141-8 overall, with head coaching stops at Colorado City and Moore, Okla.
"So many kids came through there who he had contact with and I'm always running into people who ask about him," said Irving ISD athletic director Joe Barnett. "It's amazing how many people out there who are in the coaching profession now who he influenced.
"Coaching was in his blood. Irving was in his blood. But his reach went far beyond Irving. He loved kids and he took a genuine interest in the kids far beyond the football field and you can tell by talking to people who played for him. They just thought the world of him."
Over a 15-year span from 1988 to 2002, Farda's Nimitz teams advanced to the playoffs nine times. Twice, his teams made the regional round of the playoffs, most notably in 1988, when Nimitz finished 10-2-1, ousted by Odessa Permian - Farda's alma mater.
Current Irving Nimitz coach Steven Hohenberger, an assistant under Farda for eight years, said he saw Farda as much more than a coach. Hohenberger said Farda was a father figure in his own life.
"What he stood for, the passion and the ability to relate to people, was second to none from the people I've been around," Hohenberger said.
Hohenberger remembered his first team meeting after being hired by Farda in 1998.
"I couldn't believe goose bumps on my arms," Hohenberger said. "The way he could inspire kids and adults, he was a magnet. You gravitated to his inspiration and motivation."
Flower Mound Marcus coach Bryan Erwin coached under Farda for the 1994 season before moving on to become head coach at Italy. Erwin said Farda was a master motivator, someone who was able to get the most out of his players.
"I learned more in my one year with Coach Farda about coaching football and motivating kids and loving kids than I learned at any other place I ever worked at," Erwin said.
Farda is survived by his wife, Janie, four sons - Stephen, Jared, Brian and Michael, the current Maypearl football coach - and several grandchildren.
Funeral arrangements are still pending.
Brandon George contributed to this report