The Payton Grizzlies football team experienced a big loss recently as the coaching staff chose to resign their positions as the coaches of Payton and move on to coach the Lane Tech Indians. Head coach Anthony Faltin has been with the Grizzlies for the past seven years, where he has taken the team from the bottom straight to the top.
When he accepted the job as head coach in 2007, he immediately called upon his former teammate, fellow Mount Carmel alumni, and best friend Dan Casasanto to recruit him as assistant head coach. Caleb Lendy, former Payton player and graduate, returned to help coach, and Faltin also added to his staff by signing on Tyler Frakes and Eddie Lopez. From that point on, history was in the making.
When the new coaching staff took over, Payton football was in the Intercity conference, the lowest conference that a public team could be in. Under the tutelage of Faltin, the team quickly rose through the ranks. It advanced to the Chicago Public-Great Lakes Conference and, in 2011, made the school’s first ever debut in the football state playoffs. The team has continued to make the state playoffs every year since and made its first ever appearance in the city playoffs this past season after moving up to one of the top conferences in CPS, the Illini Heartland, following an 8-1 season in 2013, which included an undefeated conference record. Not only has this coaching staff put together great teams over the past seven years, but it has also developed individual stars. Many players have been recognized as All-Conference, All-City, and Sun-Times Honorable Mention winners and some have gone on to play at the collegiate level.
Raising standout athletes has never been the coaching staff’s sole intention. They have always preached to the team that they “aren’t just raising football players but great young men as well.” The coaches have done an excellent job of this by making sure that all players behaved as gentlemen, treated others with respect, and worked as hard in the classroom as they did on the field.
Recently, Faltin was offered the job of coaching Lane Tech, a team that has been on a slow-moving downward spiral the last few years. He saw it as a job that he couldn’t refuse; it had always been his dream to coach at a big school and being offered the position gave him the perfect opportunity to take the next step in his coaching career.
“Coaching at Payton has been one of the best experiences of my life, but life is all about taking that next step and having your next adventure. I am just taking my next step,” Faltin said on his decision to leave.
Lane will provide Faltin with a larger selection of student athletes to work with as well as better facilities to utilize. He will be bringing other coaches with him as a “package deal.” The Payton players were surprised by Faltin’s decision to leave and find it to be a big loss to the program.
Zach Wang ‘17, quarterback for the team, believes that “the entire situation is, was, and will continue to be unfortunate for the entire team.”
Although the players are troubled by the recent changes, they are, overall, still happy for the coaches.“I’m happy that the coaches were able to advance their careers in football. They will be missed, but we will still have a great season,” said Timothy Fitch ‘16.
The race for the new coach is now on and will hopefully end sooner rather than later so that the players can begin training for their next season. The new coaches had better become ready because they certainly have some large shoes to fill. As for Coach Faltin and the rest of the coaching staff, best of luck to you in this next step of your coaching careers; you’ll certainly need it if you ever choose to face a Payton team that will have something to prove.