After six seasons and a career record of 25-31 as head coach for the varsity football team, Chris Fahr resigned on Thursday afternoon.
“It was my decision,” Fahr said. “I got no pressure from anybody. Our booster club was amazing. “[Seaholm Athletic Director] Aaron Frank put no pressure on me what so ever and neither did [Seaholm Principal] Terry Piper. They were all wonderful.”
Frank released a letter Thursday night (A copy of the letter can be viewed here) on the Seaholm football website, explaining the move.
“As you may know, this afternoon coach Fahr met with our 2010 varsity team to share with them his plans for next year,” Frank said in his letter. “After a decade of passionate service to hundreds of Seaholm students, Coach Fahr has decided to step down and pursue what I believe will be some very exciting options for Chris and his family.”
Fahr, who finished his final season at Seaholm with a record of 4-5, may look into a future of coaching college football.
“I’ve always had a dream to coach college football,” Fahr said. “I have a close friend that coaches college football. That’s where my dream has been and that will be my pursuit.”
Along with the personal motivation of coaching higher level football, Fahr had plenty of personal reasons to accompany his decision.
“It’s just time,” Fahr said. “For me personally, it’s best for my family, financially it’s best for my family. It’s just time, I’ve been here since 2001 and I have enjoyed my time, I’ve enjoyed every second.”
Many of the players had close relationships with Fahr and were sad to see him leave.
“I’m pretty sad about [Fahr leaving], he’s kind of like a father to me,” junior linebacker and kicker Sterling Johnson said. “He was also a role model type coach. Although I’m sad, I hope he goes on to bigger and better things.”
“It’s probably in best interest for the team, but I like Coach Fahr as a coach,” junior wide receiver Scott Anderson said. “It’s going to be hard to lose him because he’s a very good mentor and a great person.”
The decision seemed to be a hard one for Fahr. He started to choke up as he struggled to talk about the players he was leaving behind and the job that has now become memories.
"That’s the hardest part,” Fahr said. “They’re a great group of kids and I love them very much and I’m going to miss them.”
Fahr’s last season was one of high expectations.
The 2010 Maples had 23 returning players, including Shawn Conway (verbally committed to U of M), along with handful of new players who were prepared to contribute. Along with having talent, the Maples moved down a division to the OAA blue.
"Our expectations were to be more successful in league play," junior quarterback John Glazier said. "And to make the playoffs."
High expectations weren't just coming from inside the program, but outside as well. The Oakland Press recognized Seaholm as one of the favorites to win their new division.
The team started off the season on a tear and looked like a team to be reckoned with in not only the OAA, but to everyone in Oakland County. After three weeks they stood at 3-0 with wins over North Farmington, Andover and Lahser.
“I was feeling excited after starting 3-0,” senior center Charlie Doherty said. “But I knew we needed to improve.”
In the next week the team faced off in what was perceived as a powerhouse matchup with 3-0 Detroit Country Day. The Maples played well throughout, holding a 21-17 lead at halftime, before falling just short 28-21.
That's when the season took an unexpected turn for the worst. The maples fell in 4 consecutive weeks, including a 52-24 thumping from Avondale on homecoming, a rough road loss at Hazel park (30-10), a 48-21 beat down from undefeated Berkley and close call at home against Ferndale 28-21.
The rough patch diminished any hopes of the playoffs for Maples along with ensuring a third-straight losing season. The last time a Maples squad had three straight losing seasons was from 1970-72.
Although the team had a five game losing streak and their record was two games under .500, Fahr said the players kept working hard on the field.
“Nobody ever gave up, this football team was amazing. It’s not like we were losing, we knew we were going to be a good football team once everyone was healthy. but we were just not healthy,” Fahr said. “That’s why I think everyone came out and kept practicing hard, because they knew we weren’t losing because we didn’t have a good team, we were losing because we were going through some injuries and adversity, so the kids never stop trying or giving effort all year long, that’s why it was such a blessing to coach them.”
As Fahr said, injuries did seem to play a major factor on the season. Senior running back Greg Joseph went down early in the year, as well as junior running back Chris Barr. Those injuries made senior Kevin Wilberding get more carries in the back field, creating a hole at wide receiver. Juniors J.D. Hess and Scott Anderson filled those holes, but it was not the same as having plenty of depth at that position.
Other notable injuries were senior Kevin Covey whose injury cost him the season and Doherty and Conway were battling nagging injuries throughout the year. The adversity aspect came from junior Dan Gibbs getting a one game suspension for a couple of personal foul penalties in the Lahser game.
“The thing about football, injuries are a huge part of it, you have to be cautious about getting too excited about anything, it’s a violent game,” Fahr said.
All of the injuries and setbacks made it difficult for the team to progress throughout the season.
“I don’t think we improved as much as we needed too,” Doherty said.
Luckily the last game of the year is always reserved for rival Groves. Both teams entered the game 3-5 and the hostile environment made anything possible. The game was all Maples as they won for the second straight year 21-7, in what seemed to be a Seaholm dominated game.
The game allowed the Maples to end on a good note and wash away the bad taste from the previous five weeks. Many believed the win could be viewed as momentum heading into the off season and next year.
"The win gave me a lot of confidence going into next year," Glazier said. "It was a game where I could really understand what the defense was throwing at me, what reads I had to make, and where to go with the football."
Although the team’s record (4-5, 4-4 OAA) was a disappointment for most, the program’s future looks promising.
Glazier will have a year under his belt under center and will be ready to call the shots next year.
Other standout juniors that contributed this season and will take on even bigger roles next year include Anderson, Jack Apap, Barr, Kai Czajka, Russell Frye, Gibbs, Hess, Mike Nadolski, Johnson and Neal Page.
Fahr’s resignation could act as a motivation tool for the team next year.
“Especially for the junior class, we can use it for motivation and play for him,” Johnson said. “Because he definitely wants to still be year but money wise he can’t provide for his family if he stays, so we will use it as motivation to win.”
The underclassmen of the program looked impressive this year as both the J.V. and Freshman Teams ended with perfect 9-0 records. It’s easy to assume the future for Seaholm football is bright and will result in a lot of winning. But coach Fahr still has his concerns.
“I very proud of both those teams, they did great, but as we learned from this year winning is a lot about having a good team and having things go your way,” Fahr said. “I hope for Seaholm’s sake and everyone’s sake those kids stay healthy and keep getting better.”