After playing high school football in the smallest enrollment class in Illinois, Bryce Farquhar on Monday was named the new football coach at St. Charles East, a program coming off a berth in the IHSA Class 8A playoffs, the state’s largest class.
Farquhar – who coached lower-level football in East’s program over the past seven years – considers a feverish work ethic the common denominator in his success, no matter where he’s been.
“I think I’ve gained the respect of coaches and kids just by putting in the work, and that’s really my vision for the program,” Farquhar said. “We’re going to put in the work to be successful not only as athletes but as men and good community members and good students. It’s such an awesome responsibility. I’m just proud to be in this spot.”
Farquhar, 34, replaces Mike Fields, who cited family considerations in stepping down after his fifth season with the Saints.
Farquhar, a Huntley resident, was chosen from a pool of more than 40 applicants, according to East athletic director Mike Sommerfeld. The hiring is subject to school board approval, which is expected to come May 12.
Working under a relatively compact timeframe to hire a coach in time to set up the Saints’ summer program, Sommerfeld still sought input from parents of East players, who expressed a desire that the coach implement a “robust” offseason program, assist players with college recruitment and generally help take the program to the next level.
East made the playoffs in three of Fields’ five seasons but did not win a playoff game.
“In the end, what they were looking for was exactly what we were looking for,” Sommerfeld said. “We met with the parents, and some of the things that they said they wanted, we definitely brought that perspective and kind of worked that into our questioning when we questioned the finalists. It was very important to hear from them because we need their support.”
At East, Farquhar first coached under Ted Monken, then Fields, but said he will bring a distinct brand of leadership to the program. He said changes in the program will have more to do with all the behind-the-scenes details that add up to success rather than any drastic shifts in Xs and Os.
Fields – a longtime former sophomore coach at Geneva before coming to East – installed Farquhar as the Saints’ sophomore coach, knowing how crucial a role that is in a program.
“He’s qualified and he’ll do a wonderful job,” Fields said. “He’s well respected by the kids. I know he’ll definitely put in the time and do all the things you need to be a successful coach. … I’m excited for him to see how he does and what he does. He’s got a bright future.”
A teacher in East’s wellness department, Farquhar (pronounced Fork-er) played high school football for a powerhouse 1A program in western Illinois, then known as Northwestern-La Harpe. He then attended but did not play football at nearby Western Illinois University before his teaching career took him to the Chicago suburbs. A stint as an assistant football coach at Richmond-Burton preceded his move to St. Charles East.
Farquhar said joyous emotions bubbled up when Sommerfeld told him he’d be the Saints’ next coach, then quickly realized the amount of tasks needing prompt attention to prepare for the summer. One of those is figuring out which of the other members of Fields’ former coaching staff will remain on board for the 2014 season.
“I think I owe it to those coaches to sit down even though I know them very well and see where they see themselves in four years, see what their vision is and then try to match that with my goals and my vision, and make sure we’re still on the same page,” Farquhar said.