Tuesday, March 18, 2008
By Mike Miller
After 21 years of leading the Nordhoff Rangers football program, head coach Cliff Farrar announced last week that he is leaving to take the head coaching job at Buena High School in Ventura. Farrar’s announcement comes after a season in which the Rangers reached the CIF finals before losing to Oaks Christian. In his 21 seasons, Farrar went 150-98-2, with nine league titles, reached the CIF finals four times and the CIF semifinals four times and had a 25-15 record in CIF play-off games.
Farrar will take over a program that he feels is on the verge of great things. When asked what attracted him to Buena, he said, “I am ready for a new challenge and I think that Buena is a good fit. I have always enjoyed rebuilding teams. When I was a kid, I was always the one on the playground that would organize games and set up teams. Putting together a team and seeing it become successful is what keeps me going.” Farrar will take former player and long-time assistant coach Mike Rodriguez with him to Buena. “Mike is a big part of what I do and we are both excited for a new challenge. I can hear the excitement in his voice and we are anxious to get going,” noted Farrar.
Coaching football will not be Farrar’s only duty at Buena, he will also be teaching part-time, just as he did last year at NHS. His biggest task will be rebuilding a program that has only won nine games in the last four seasons. Farrar admits that leaving behind a program that he resurrected will not be easy. “When I came to Ojai, I wanted to establish a program that people wanted to be a part of. I wanted all of the 9- and 10-year-old boys that were looking through the fence to want to become Rangers some day. I think that we accomplished that here. I am so proud of this program and this community for all that we have been able to accomplish. It has been weird driving by the school knowing that I won’t be coaching the Rangers anymore. Everyone backed this program, from the players and parents to the band and cheerleaders. It just seemed like there was something for everyone, and that made it special.”
When asked about his most memorable moment as football coach, Farrar paused. “I don’t know if I can name just one, there were just so many. That 1991 team will always hold a special spot in my heart, though. They were the first team that truly bought into what we were trying to do. In 1990, we finished in last place in our league, but then in 1991 we won league. The 1994 team was also real special for me because both of my sons (Brian and Russell) were on that team. Kids enjoyed playing Ranger football and that has been important to me over the years,” he said.
Farrar’s parting comments to his Nordhoff family, past and present were, “I just want to say a big thank-you to all of my former players. Not many programs can say that they went to the play-offs for 16 of 17 seasons and that is due to that hard work and dedication of those players. I can’t tell you how many times people approached me after the season to say that they were surprised that we finished as well as we did and that is a testament to those kids and their effort. To the community, thank you for your support over the years. I have enjoyed it a lot. They backed us all of the time. And finally to my family, they gave me the time to do what I love. My wife, Roxanne, has been our biggest fan and she has just been great.”
Farrar added that six members of last year’s coaching staff have indicated that they would like to remain with the football program. “They are doing a nice job and will keep the kids motivated and make sure that they are ready to go next year,” said Farrar.