For more than 20 years, Bobby Fehrenbach has been the face of the General Douglas MacArthur High School varsity football team. The legend has led some truly remarkable teams, highlighted by a 2002 Nassau County title run.
But come 2019, Fehrenbach wants everyone to know that the success is not because of him. Rather, it’s due to the dedicated student-athletes who have poured their blood, sweat and tears into the game they love so much.
“It’s not just me,” Fehrenbach said. “It’s about everybody else who’s involved. Year-in and year-out, our staff has been together for a really long time. We have great kids coming through. It’s great to be involved here.”
Recently, the New York Giants and Gatorade selected Fehrenbach as the Lou Rettino High School Coach of the Week for Week 8 of the 2019 season, the same week MacArthur did the unthinkable. Garden City had been on cruise control, riding out a 42-game win streak that seemed like it wouldn’t end. But the Generals, led by running back Hugh Kelleher and quarterback Joe Manfredo, defeated the Trojans
“It’s pretty cool to get recognized,” the longtime coach said.
As part of the Lou Rettino High School Coach of the Week program, the Giants Foundation and Gatorade will send $2,000 to the Levittown-based high school football program. Fehrenbach himself will receive a certificate of recognition signed by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Giants head coach Pat Shurmur.
And when the Giants faced the Green Bay Packers on Week 13, the Generals head coach was mentioned by the team during an in-stadium announcement to highlight his significant impact made to Long Island football. Come 2020, he’ll get to take his entire Generals squad to a Giants preseason game at MetLife Stadium.
MacArthur ended the year 10-1, with the team’s lone loss coming against Garden City, 16-14, in the Nassau County Conference IV championship battle. In all, the Generals outscored opponents 356 to 75 on the year.
“We took a 10-0 record into the last game,” Fehrenbach said. “Unfortunately, things didn’t work out the way we hoped. Looking back at it all, it was an incredible season. You can’t take away what the kids accomplished throughout the whole year.”
Fehrenbach started with MacArthur as an assistant coach from 1991-98 before being promoted to head coach for the 1999 season. Through his three decades, there have been some rule changes, and the culture of high school sports, particularly football, has seen an increased focus on safety.
“Safety is at the forefront for the last handful of years,” he said. “You make adjustments as you go along, but there hasn’t been a major overhaul for anything I’ve done, whether it’s my coaching style or other tweaks.”
Fehrenbach abides by one simple rule, which makes him stand out among coaches.
“We want to give kids a positive experience,” Fehrenbach said. “Just treating them as adults gets a lot out of them. We respect them and treat them fairly. We do the right things and say the right things. They can trust us. When you have that trust, you’ll get the most out of them.”
The Lou Rettino High School Football Coach of the Week Award is part of the Giants’ continuing effort to support local youth football programs. The Giants elected to name the award in memory of former Union High School (New Jersey) coach Lou Rettino for his fine commitment to the game of football, his community and the betterment of his athletes’ lives. Each week during the high school football season, the Giants selected one area high school head coach as the Coach of the Week winner. The selection is based on the coach’s continuing commitment towards promoting youth football, developing motivated student-athletes and his overall community involvement.