Herrington, John Crowley

2003 Crowley Award Winner

John Herrington, Farmington Hills Harrison

By Larry Sellers

The year was 1962. John Herrington, a wide-eyed, enthusiastic lover of the game of football was hired by Ron Holland, at North Farmington High School, as a member of his staff and served as the Head JV Coach under Coach Holland from 1962-1969. When a new school opened in Farmington in 1970, our John became the first head coach at Farmington Hills Harrison High School, whose teams were called the Hawks. They must like him at Harrison because he is the only Head Football Coach in the history of the school, having recently completed his thirty-third year at the helm. Exactly what factors have allowed him to last so long at the same school?

Could it possibly be (Part A):

• The success of his teams; they have won 307 games, lost only 61 and have one tie in the 369 games he has coached at Harrison (a winning percentage of S3P); since the state playoffs began in 1975 the Hawks are 64-8 in the post season (90%), with 12 state titles in 15 state championship game appearances (80%) and 5 other state semi-finalist appearances. Along the way the Hawkshave picked up some 24 league championships.

• His accolades: Along with being named a MHSFCA regional coach and state coach of the year on numerous occasions, he was inducted into our organization’s Hall of Fame in 1986, the Michigan High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1997, The National Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1998, The Michigan Sports Hall of Fame in 2001 - only the third Michigan High School Coach to be selected to that august body, and was selected as the National Football Coach of the Year by the National High School Athletic Coaches Association, also in 2001.

Or (Part B) could his longevity be the result of:

• His knowledge of and passion for the game, as seen by coach Holland in that first interview. -The continuity of his staff - many of his staff members have been with the program for over 20 years - several former players are volunteer coaches.

• His teams are tremendously prepared each time they take the field.

• The family atmosphere at Harrison - begun and nurtured by our recipient and his staff, it is truly remarkable; many of his best friends are the parents of former players.

• His passion and love for working in the classroom as a social studies teacher.

• The longtime support of his family, beginning with Fran, his wife, lover, and best friend, who was tragically struck down by cancer in 2001; his daughter Leisa and son Layne.

• His humility as the successes and accolades have mounted: He has served the MHSFCA for over 20 years as its Public Relations Committee Chairman; during that time he has several times been asked to serve as an officer but has decided to remain in his current position.

• His willingness to sit down with coaches of all ages to talk about the game he so dearly loves.

• He is loved by his coaches, players, students, parents, administration and community.

When you consider all this, it is easy to understand that part B of what I have listed has indeed led to part A. Very much like Conch Jim Crowley, the man for whom this award is named, our 2003 recipient is a class individual, a strong family man, fun loving but very focused, passionate about the things he does, a most successful leader of young men and a great example to those student-athletes he has coached and continues to coach.

On the Farmington Hills Harrison Hawk Football stationery, you can find the slogan "Where champions are made and success is traditional." Indeed it is and that is why Harrison is considered, and probably not too arguably, the premier football program in the State of Michigan and among the best in the country! 

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