Andy Faragon is a Colonie native who was the World Kickboxing Champion in 1996. He is a longtime football, baseball and boxing coach and who has worked with hundreds of youth and young adults, teaching them about the finer points of athletics and life in general. He and his wife, June, live in Guilderland and together they have three children, Michael, Andrew and Alexis.
Q: You have coached hundreds of kids in Pop Warner and high school across the Capital District. In addition to teaching them the finer points of a sport what else do you try to convey to the kids you coach?
A: To finish. Everything is about finishing. Doesn’t matter what it is, be it homework, or a chore or a job in the real world. You have to set goals and finish. When we won the super bowl, we had signs made up that said “Finish.” What you do in sports will lead right how you preform later in life. If your work ethic is good in sports you will be successful in life. You don’t have to be good, you just have to work hard at it. Work ethic is everything. Doesn’t matter what it is, sports, school or the working world. My kids can carry a 70 and they work hard I’m good with it. If my kid carries a 90 average and doesn’t do anything, I have a problem with that. I was not the greatest athlete in the world but I worked hard at it.
Q: You have coached some exceptional athletes including five who made it to the NFL. What does it take to compete at high competitive levels?
A: One hundred and fifty percent commitment. At that level, you can’t do it 60 or 80 percent. You have to have 150 percent commitment. And anyone who is at that level in any sport has to be incredibly competitive. You focus on your diet. You hit the gym instead of hitting the club on Saturday night but most importantly you have to want to win.
Q: You were the kickboxing world champion before kickboxing and/or Mixed Martial Arts was popular. What drew you to that sport? Do you miss it? Still got a few rounds left in you?
A: I was a competitive kid who liked the one-on-one competition. My father did not want me to go to a boxing gym so he signed me up for a karate class when I was 8 years old. When I was 18 or 19 I met a guy at a karate tournament and he introduced me to kickboxing and I fell in love with it. I miss the night of the fight. I don’t miss the training but I miss the night of the event. Whenever I see someone fighting or sparring I think ‘I can take him.’ Just like any great homerun hitter sees a young pitcher and says ‘I can hit one out off that guy.” But the honest truth is I got nothing left in the tank.
Q: What is your favorite age to coach?
A: Thirteen or 14. In that range. They still want to listen to you and they still belive in you. When you get 16 or 17 year old kids they think they know more than you or they have their own opinions. But when they are 13 or 14, they are out of the baby stage and you can talk to them different and when they kneel down in front of you for a team meeting they think you walk on water. I could be 100 percent wrong and they will still believe in you. I’ve lied to many a team during speeches just to motivate them and that only works if they believe in you.
Q: you coach all different sports. Is there a common thread to all the sports?
A: It doesn’t matter what sport it is. You have to finishing what you start and you have to be competitive.
Q: Who is your favorite professional athlete? Least Favorite?
A: Lawrence Taylor (a linebacker for the New York Giants.) He was competative and he was relentless on the field. If I have one athlete I look at and say ‘damn’ it would be Lawrence Taylor. It is the only fan jersey I own. My least favorite is Michael Jordan, and I am a huge fan of how he plays. But I can’t like him because I’m a huge Knicks fan and he stopped the Patrick Ewing team again and again. All my teams are in New York, Knicks, Giants and Yankees.
If know someone who would like to be featured in the weekly Five Questions segment of The Colonie Spotlight, contact Jim Franco at 518-878-1000 or [email protected]