For the better part of four decades, John Faller has been synonymous with Sweet Home athletics.
“I take a lot of pride in it,” he said.
With the exception of the one year he served as the schools’ athletic director, since 1977 Faller has been the only lacrosse coach in school history.
“We started the varsity league and it was about eight teams. It was just hard trying to put varsity and JV together," he continued. "The quality of play was right from scratch, right from zero. That was the biggest
While his time on the sidelines has come to an end, tucked away in the school library are 40 years of history, like the school’s first sectional championship.
“Good (memories)," Faller said. "When I look at the players on this team and the faces it all kind of comes back to you because over the years you forget.”
But, unlike the worn pages of the year book the 67-year-old’s memory hasn’t faded.
“I had a couple of boys that graduated from West Point. One is a Brigadier General right now, Brian Mennes. A lot of these guys have gone on and accomplished great things. And, sports was a small period of time for them but it had a big influence on their lives.”
A lot can happen in forty years of coaching. Among the 373 career wins and six Sectional titles, Faller watched his son Todd and grandson Nate grow up and pass through the program.
"He was my only son, so that is the only one I coached," Faller said. "Played defense for us, he was one of the captains for us his senior year."
There were plenty of memorable moments along the way.
“I think some coaches, myself included we’re a little bit harder on our sons than we are on some of the other players because you don’t want to show favoritism," Faller said, adding "There is one time we were doing a lap or something like that I said ‘you take another one,’ and he got pretty upset with me.”
“It’s crazy that it’s finally come to an end,” his grandon and senior Nate Faller added. “He’s been here so long. My four years flew by.”
After four decades of being a coach and mentor to hundreds of players, Faller’s biggest achievement isn’t the wins or titles, but the life lessons he’s helped his players learn.
“When they say I’m starting to understand some of the things you said to me back then. I’m starting to understand it and it makes more sense than when I was 17," he said.
"If they get the message I don’t care when they get it, whether they’re 17 or 34. But if they get the message I feel like I’ve accomplished something.”