Friday, October 31, 2014

ADvantage Friday Feature: Mack Farag's Red and Purple Family.

Mack Farag is one of Linfield Football's unsung heroes.
Photo Courtesy from Tim Marsh: Read Tim's Wildcatville Blog Here.
Unlike many people in this day and age, Mack Farag doesn’t like to be the center of a story. Farag is a team player. After talking with him, it’s impossible to think otherwise.

He’ll talk about what everyone else brings to the table, and how this team is built up of players, coaches and a lot more people who have helped make Linfield the powerhouse it is today.

Now, along with Farag, Smith and Vaughan, comes an army of coaches that range from recent graduates and former All-Americans, to Hall of Fame coaches, many of which attended Linfield and had family do the same.

Coach Hire met his wife Theresa when they were both students at Linfield; and their two children, Aaron and Miranda, followed in their footsteps playing football and soccer respectively. Not only did Coach Vaughan attend Linfield but his sister, Julia, also played soccer for the Wildcats.

And after two years at Cal. Lutheran, Farag’s daughter came home and transferred to Linfield.

“As much as I wanted her here, it was her decision,” said Farag. “And once she made her decision, I supported her. But I love that she’s back now.”

Even though she was a student at a rival school, Linfield pride runs deep. Three weeks in to Alexandria Farag’s freshman year, Linfield came down to play Cal. Lutheran.

She sat on the Linfield sideline.

“All of the coaches’ kids and wives and families are special,” said Farag. “They’re the reason we all get to do what we do. If it weren’t for their support and them sitting in the bleachers every game, none of us would be here. It’s a very special thing to be a part of.”

A high honor of being a part of this program was when one of the Hawaiian players called Farag “Uncle.”

“Aaron Hire was the first kid to start calling me that,” said Farag. “Other players started joining in and I realized ‘okay, I’m a part of this family now.’”

Interactions like these are what make the Linfield program so special. Whether they are rookies or seasoned vets, every member of the team, past and present, has played an important role in this program.

“I’ve had the greatest conversations with the kids and had the greatest time,” said Farag. “I’ve dealt with more personal things with the players and got to have a unique perspective in this program.

One kid called me a caretaker. And I guess that’s what I am, I do what I have to do to prepare.”

One of those things includes halftime snacks. It’s no secret that boys tend to get hungry, especially when they’re running around and hitting each other. So, Farag always likes to carry a lot of snacks during games to help in those situations.

He also keeps a jar of candy on the desk in his office, which players frequently stop by to take advantage of.

“That jar gets empty everyday,” said Farag. “Some come in and talk and some just want candy. It’s cool that they know they can just come in whenever they want. It’s cool.”

 It’s not just the current players who impact the Catdome. Alumni are never far and play just as important of a role.

Farag’s hardest yet favorite day is the day of the alumni game. Although he’s busy, constantly running around getting equipment for everyone, it’s pure joy.

“The young kids have no idea who they’re up against, they think the alumni are all old,” laughed Farag. “But in the first half they just get run up. Then in the second half, the alumni are just trying to survive.”

With everyone around, remembering how special their time at Linfield was, it’s no surprise that this program is what it is. This team is built up of a lot more than just coaches and players and a friend who always has candy.

“I’ve had guys come back who didn’t know me treat me like guys who graduated last year,” said Farag. “Everyone here is a family, past and present. I didn’t understand for a few years but once you’re a part of this family, you are A PART of this family.”

And Linfield sure is lucky to have every single one of them.

-Sara Miller

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