“I wanted to be a doctor,” Lou Farrar, head football coach, said when asked about his storied career. But Coach Lou’s history with Charter Oak High School (COHS) began before he started coaching and now continues for three generations.
Instead of becoming a doctor, Coach Lou was recruited to coach in 1968 at Damien High School, and while working there, he decided to get a teaching credential because it was a “good steady job.” While he never had aspirations to coach high school football, the opportunities continue to grow.
After he earned the first teaching credential in California in psychology, he accepted teaching and coaching positions at Royal Oak High School and returned to the community and school district of his youth. As a young man, he been tight and defensive ends and place kicker for the Charter Oak football team.
Soon thereafter, Royal Oak combined with Charter Oak High School, and Coach Lou had the challenge of melding a team from two archrivals. His genius was evident when the team was undefeated for the season and went on to win his first CIF championship.
Coach Lou has taken his team to post-season play every year since, and his teams have won five CIF championships, most recently with back-to-back wins in 2008 and 2009. This Saturday’s game against San Marino High School will determine if he gets his sixth.
Coach Lou’s son, Dominic, played football under his father’s tutelage also as a tight end. He has been assistant coach for his father since he graduated from high school in 1991. While coaching, Coach Dom started his teaching career at Royal Oak Middle School, and he later moved to COHS, where he teaches psychology and world history, and he is also the athletic director.
The youngest generation, Louis Farrar, currently plays for his father and grandfather as starting tight end and backup quarterback on the varsity team. Last year he was the starting quarterback on the undefeated freshman team.
Louis has “always been inspired in earlier years” by his grandfather. He grew up around the chaos of football games and practices, watching his grandfather and father coach the high school boys, acting as ball boy, going to the team parties and end of year gatherings. Football has been a part in his life from his earliest memory.
Now the time has come for Louis to play, he said, “Going home at the end of the game with the coach puts pressure to perform well.” Despite the pressure to do his best, Louis still finds himself amazed at getting to play under those Friday Night lights.
Louis recently caught the first CO touchdown in the CIF semifinal game against cross-town rivals Glendora High School. He has the distinction of being the only Farrar to make a touchdown. CO went on win 28-14. In an earlier postseason game, Louis went in as quarterback in the playoff game against Monrovia High School, which the Chargers won 51-14.
The Charter Oak football family extends beyond the Farrars. The current coaching staff, with the exception of Coach Roger Lehigh from South Hills High School, all played Charger football. Steve Smith, cornerback and special teams coach, and Craig Evans, offensive line coach, played together on the 1985 CIF-winning team. Brothers Michael, quarterback coach, and Justin Perry, line back coach, played for Coaches Lou and Dom in the early 2000s, and defensive line coach Evan Williams was on the 2008 team. Having played for Coach Lou, they understand the CO football game plan.
Over all the years, the most pleasant memories of Coach Lou’s career have been getting to see the players and coaches interacting with one another through one rollercoaster football season after another.
“Going through the best of times and the worst of time, the ups and downs, the highs and lows, we stuck together,” he said.
Whether Couch Lou’s legacy of coaching will continue to a third generation is yet to be seen. Coach Lou’s son, Dom, and his daughter have both coached their children’s teams. Whether or not Louis coaches is completely up to him. He wants Louis and his six grandchildren to “do what makes them happy.”
47 years later, Coach Lou looks back: “It was long hours, a lot of recruiting, and a lot of traveling,” but he has enjoyed every moment of being a teacher, coach, father, and grandfather. He, however, is not thinking about retiring; he was not designed for all that free time. “Besides,” he said, “I’m a lousy golfer.”