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Former football coach leaves NHS

Cary Ashby • Jul 18, 2018 at 9:00 PM

The Norwalk City Schools board of education accepted four resignations during its regular meeting Tuesday.

The following resignations are effective Aug. 20: Kim Gentzel (Maplehurst Elementary educational assistant), Katherine Knight (psychologist for Main Street through Norwalk High schools), Christina McFarland (technology) and her husband, Chris McFarland (NHS and Norwalk Middle School math). Christina McFarland most recently taught technology for kindergarten through third grade and earlier worked at NHS. Gentzel’s resignation is for the purpose of retirement after 18 years with the district.

Chris MacFarland also was the Norwalk Truckers football coach for nine seasons, guiding the team to a 49-44 record. The Truckers were 1-9 in his first season. In 2013, Norwalk went 9-1 and made the playoffs for the first time since winning the Class AA state championship in 1974. The 2013 Truckers fell in double-overtime in the first round to Tiffin Columbian.

In 2014, Norwalk went 10-0 in the regular season, earning the program’s third-ever Northern Ohio League title. The Truckers also hosted a first-round playoff game for the first time — a 42-34 win over Perkins at Whitney Field.

Over the last century of Truckers football, only MacFarland, Tiffin Columbian graduate, and Bob Hart (51-40-1, 1972-80) finished their respective coaching tenures with winning records — a span of 21 different coaches. 

The Norwalk school district, in late November, announced “the time had come to bring a new voice to our young athletes” and parted ways with MacFarland. School officials, in the same statement, said the athletic department would begin a search process immediately.

MacFarland will be an assistant football coach in Rome, Ga., near where his daughter plays college volleyball.

During a Feb. 22 special board meeting, the district hired lifelong Huron County resident Todd Fox as the Truckers head coach. He also will serve as the guidance counselor for grades four through six. 

Fox, a 1991 Willard graduate, was the head coach at Division VII Tiffin Calvert for the past eight seasons, where he had a great run of success. The Senecas went 56-36 under Fox, with seven straight playoff appearances. His teams won first-round games in six of those seven seasons, including five straight years from 2011 through 2015.

In other action Tuesday, the board:

• Approved an intermittent Family Medical Leave Act for Jackie Weisenberger (for the 2018-’19 school year) and a leave-of-absence for custodian Vivian Clark through July 31.

• Accepted a $2,000 donation from Norwalk Eagles No. 711 to NERD Nation, the NHS robotics team.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Sports editor Mark Hazelwood contributed to this story.

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