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Lew-Port’s Norman Forney completes successful run as women’s football coach | High school

For two years, Norman Forney thought about quitting the Lewiston-Porter women’s soccer team. The Covid-19 pandemic has only made him think more.

He has been seriously thinking about his future for almost the last month. He had several conversations with Lancers athletic director Brad Halgash and superintendent Paul J. Casseri over several weeks and went back and forth with his decision.

On Monday, Forney officially decided he would step down as Lew-Port football manager after six seasons. Under his tenure, the Lancers won three division titles, going back to back the past two seasons. They advanced to the state semifinals for the first time since 1996 and made their first appearance in the state finals since 1994.

“I’m really proud of what the team has accomplished over these six years,” Forney said. “In those six years the team have won three section titles in four years. We’ve gotten better every year. I think we’ve made Lew-Port a name to fight with now. When the end the season is approaching, people are wondering where Lew-Port is going to be, and I think that’s a good thing, people are talking about the program again.

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Over the past two seasons, Lewiston-Porter has gone 29-4-2. Despite the Lancers’ success and one shy of a New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class B state title, Forney said the 2021 season was “an incredibly stressful year.”

He did not like the team hotel, which was selected by the state. He said there were rooms without smoke detectors and some players had bugs in their space. Another hurdle the team faced was meals, which Forney called a “logistical problem.”

“The games themselves were fantastic, it was exciting and complete,” he said. “Everything that came before was emotionally and physically exhausting. I was just completely devastated at the end of the season.

Being the head coach of any team can be tough. It’s a part-time job that has a full-time responsibility. Coaching is a seasonal job when it comes to cutting the check, but those who are engaged in the trade know that it is a year-round job. Coaches have to balance their full-time jobs, along with earning, teaching teens life lessons, the expectations of administrators and, of course, parents.

There are parents in every community who believe their child should be part of a team rotation without looking objectively at their child’s talent relative to other athletes in the rotation.

“The other thing is, to be quite frank, parents’ expectations of what the program should be and what their child’s experience should be are different from mine,” Forney said. “There’s a lot of pressure from parents, in particular, to get their kids to play no matter what, and that’s not my philosophy at college level.”

Forney caught himself mid-sentence saying, “I don’t know what I want to say about that.” But he explained that at each level, from modified to university, the expectations are different. When kids play modified games, Forney thinks everyone should play because it’s “getting experience and teaching skills for kids.” As for JV, the coach believes athletes should compete for playing time and everyone should play but be rewarded for their skill level and understanding of the game.

“Teaching that hard work ethic, perseverance and the importance of courage are important qualities I think we’re starting to see lacking in some high school sports,” Forney said. “I think some people think, ‘My kid’s been playing the game his whole life, he should be on the pitch. That’s good, but when you want to maintain a high-level competitive program, you need people who compete at high levels during practices, games and the offseason. Some people are exceptions to this rule.

Prior to coaching the girls, Forney coached the Lew-Port boys from 2010 to 2013 and says he left that role “mainly due to parental pressure”. Her experience made her think about what happened with Chris Durr at Williamsville East and Nick DeMarsh at Buffalo State, both former women’s soccer coaches who were let go.

“I just see similarities,” Forney said. “I understand that parents should have a voice, I do. I understand that the child wants to play, I do it. Children need to understand that they have to compete for a spot. I support every child. It just got to the point where those three things put together made me think, ‘How much heartbreak do I want in my life?’ ”

Forney says he was not forced out of his job and had the full support of the athletic director and superintendent. Lewiston-Porter will have a school board meeting next week, and the former coach is hoping assistant coach Emily Brook will be promoted as her successor.

“For me, it was a smooth move,” Forney said. “If I have to quit, I know Emily is there to step in.”

Describing coaching during the pandemic as ‘stressful’ and ‘exhausting’, Forney didn’t want to leave a program he helped build until he felt it was at a point where good coaches were. in place to carry forward the success he has achieved.

“I didn’t want to quit until we had a clear candidate in mind,” he said. “The university will never be as strong as the supporting programs.”

As for returning to training, he is not opposed to it, but should be convinced to do so.

“It would take a bit of conviction to redo that kind of temporal and emotional engagement,” Forney said.

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