Changing the Culture

New Head Football Coach Brian Farda Makes Changes to Program


Karli Reed '21

Falcon students cheer on their football team.

Jack Carmichael, Reporter

Brian Farda, formerly a teacher at FWCD, and now the head football coach, has one goal. He wants to turn around the program and make the Falcons a consistently top-tier team.

Signs are posted around the locker room reminding the players of what the private school world thinks of them. These signs read “Texas Private School Football Rankings” across the top. Country Day was sitting at number 90 going into the year. Farda also constantly reminds the players that everyone thinks they can take playing the Falcons lightly.

August 31. Opening night of the season. The Falcons made the 25-minute drive north to Fort Worth Christian. The first half didn’t go so great. Fort Worth Christian quarterback Tyler Knoop ‘19 led the Cardinals down the field in a little over two minutes for the touchdown. Then the Cardinals made the mistake of kicking it to Connor Brown ‘21, as he took it all the way back for the touchdown. The rest of the first half didn’t get much better. There were a few bright spots for the Falcon offense but the Cardinal offense, especially Knoop, stole the show. They marched up and down the field and always seemed to end up putting six more on the board.

At halftime, the scoreboard read: Cardinals 27 Falcons 6. But something changed during those 20 minutes.

“The biggest difference was that the guys played like it was a do-over, like the first half never happened,” Farda said.

The Cardinals kicked it off and quarterback Stephen Murrin ‘20 led the offense down the field for an eight-minute drive to make the score 27-13. On the very first play of next Cardinal possession, Knoop dropped back and tried to throw a quick hitch over to his wideout when Chris Edwards ‘20 stepped in front, picked it off, and took it in for six more.

If the crowd of Falcon students hadn’t gotten into it yet, it sure did get loud quick. All of a sudden, it sounded like a home game for the Falcons. The student section for the Falcons never got quiet, whereas the Cardinal fans that had been talking smack and yelling the whole first half had suddenly gone completely silent.  

“The crowd made all the difference. It is much easier to let loose and slobber-knock with a big dog when you have a raucous crowd behind you, and our student section could be heard from clear across town,” Farda said.

When FWC turned the ball over again, giving the Falcons great field position, they went right down the field and scored again, this time tying the score at 27, with the fourth quarter seconds away from starting. The fourth quarter all of a sudden had no offense. The whole game had been all offense and barely any defense. Both teams either started driving down the field and turned it over or just punted. The Falcon fans stayed in it throughout the fourth, as the Cardinal sideline remained in utter disbelief. The first half had gone so smoothly for them, and now nothing could go right.

Going into overtime, all the momentum remained with the Falcons. On the first play of overtime, Murrin ran the read option to perfection putting the Falcons inside the five yard line. On the next play, Sam Elkind ‘19 took the handoff to the outside, just trying to get to the corner, but that’s where he got swarmed by a group of Cardinals. The ball got knocked out and was recovered by FWC. On the Cardinals’ first play of their possession, Tyler Knoop did exactly what Murrin had just done, except he was able to get past the last guy and into the end zone. As the Cardinal fans made their first bit of noise in almost two hours, the scoreboard read: Cardinals 33 Falcons 27.

The Brian Farda era is definitely off to a great start. He has already accomplished the goal of the players buying in. Drew Chilcoat ‘19, a wide receiver and safety on the team, was a part of the 2016 SPC championship team, and also the 2017 team that won just two games.

“I’m extremely excited. In my opinion Coach Farda has completely changed the culture of not only the football team but the entire school. He’s bringing so many new things to the program that are helping us grow as players,” Chilcoat said.

One falcon supporter, John Brookman ‘80, has seen many highs and lows of the football program. He was part of the group that interviewed all of the coaching candidates and eventually was part of the group that made the final decision to hire Farda.

“There are so many aspects of that third quarter that excite me about the future of FWCD football. The infectious euphoria of the Falcon student section cheering wildly and the symbiotic transfer of that excitement from the stands to the field and vice-versa. The justified return of swagger to the Falcon stride and the reappearance of smiles of unbridled joy in the players I love,” Brookman said.

Since the Fort Worth Christian game, the Falcons have played in two heartbreaking close games. The first with the Grapevine Faith Lions was a hard-fought, wet, and sloppy matchup, where the Falcons lost 21-6. The next week they took on the Episcopal School of Dallas Eagles and in another hard-fought, close game, the Falcons moved to 0-3 with a 35-24 loss.

All three games have been very close, and one possession games in the fourth quarter. The future of FWCD football is certainly bright. Friday nights have a new sense of energy that Falcon fans didn’t see last season.

“’Almost winning’ at FWC or ‘playing close’ with Grapevine Faith (two perennial powers) are no longer newsworthy stories but we expect to fight and beat teams of this caliber every week,” Farda said. “Then and only then will we be heading in the right direction as a football culture here at FWCD.”