One of the City League’s marquee high school football programs for most of the past two decades will have a new coach next fall.
After 14 seasons, Brian Haffele has stepped down as Marion-Franklin’s coach.
“You know when it’s your time,” Haffele said. “I just want to spend time with my kids. I could end up being an assistant or a head coach someday, but it’s time for a different challenge per se. Realistically it’s a high-demanding job and my boys are getting older, and it’s harder and harder for me to be away.”
Haffele, who has two sons, went 130-35 with 11 playoff appearances while guiding the Red Devils. Marion-Franklin went 14-11 in the postseason under Haffele.
The program made its first playoff appearance in 2004 under former coach Gary Tucker with Haffele serving as an assistant.
Haffele then led the Red Devils to the playoffs in each of his first 10 seasons, with them advancing to Division II state semifinals in both 2009 and 2011 as well as a Division III state semifinal in 2013.
Marion-Franklin endured its only losing season under Haffele when it went 3-7 in 2016. The team then bounced back to make the playoffs and go 8-3 in 2017.
The Red Devils went 7-3 this fall but settled for 12th in Division III, Region 11, four spots out of the playoffs.
“I truly feel like I’ve been very blessed to have the coaches I’ve had with me,” said Haffele, who also previously served as an assistant at Walnut Ridge. “We’ve been to a lot of playoff games. The Marion-Franklin brand is respected around central Ohio. Everybody around the state knows about Marion-Franklin.
“I’m going to miss the kids. We made three state semifinals and we had a span of about five years where we were really good. It’s time for the next challenge.”