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FHC Sports Report

The home for coverage of all FHC athletics

FHC Sports Report

The home for coverage of all FHC athletics

FHC Sports Report

New varsity football head coach Dave Fortino is poised to lead FHC football to new heights

New varsity football head coach Dave Fortino is poised to lead FHC football to new heights

FHC football, especially with last season’s state championship, is legendary. Former head coach Tim Rogers led the Rangers to historic success last season as FHC won its first ever football state championship under his guidance. However, his reign has come to an end after this historic season: the baton of varsity head coach has been passed to Dave Fortino.

Saying goodbye to Rogers is difficult for the community. His legacy will impact on the FHC teams and coaches yet to come; however, he will continue teaching strength at the high school and middle school.

“Coach Rogers is one of the best coaches in the state and likely even beyond that,” athletic director Jonathan Goei said. “But what separates Coach Rogers from his peers is who he is as a person. As good as he is as a coach, and again, he is one of if not the best out there, he’s an even better person. A man of integrity and class, respect and humility. He has been an incredible example and role model for not just the student-athletes in his program, but for all of the students here at FHC.”

The transfer of the varsity head coach position happened from within the program; Fortino has been coaching at FHC since 2019 and formerly led the offensive line. His background is impressive: growing up, he played football at East Lansing High School, where he was awarded All-State honorable mention and first-team All-Conference. He then went to Michigan State University, where he was a preferred walk-on for the football team, and began his coaching career after his sophomore year.

“My involvement in sports has influenced my career in so many ways,” Fortino said. “As a young player and a coach, you learn the importance of being organized and efficient with your time. There are only so many hours in the day to get certain things accomplished so you better have a plan and the ability to execute that plan or be able to adjust that plan as needed.”

He then coached at his former high school for six years—three years as a varsity assistant and three years as a junior varsity assistant—before moving to a slightly different career as a teacher at Sexton High School in Lansing. However, his passion for football persevered, and he was their JV football assistant for two years.

Switching to another high school in 2004, Fortino continued his coaching course as a teacher and varsity assistant football coach at Greenville. He spent 12 successful years there, with 10 serving as the varsity defensive coordinator. Following Greenville’s 2015 season, he decided to take a break from coaching to spend more time with his family.

Fortino is looking to continue the success that Rogers and the program have become known for.

“My goals for next year are to continue to field a football team that is well prepared and plays with great effort, intensity and physicality,” Fortino said. “We also want to continue to be great people on and off the field that lead by example.”

Along with his experience, there’s another reason Fortino is poised to succeed as varsity head coach: his deep involvement in Forest Hills’s community.

Fortino has two children currently attending FHC, Drew and Lindsay Fortino; the former followed in his father’s footsteps and also plays football. His break from coaching in 2015 gave Fortino a chance to become more involved with his son’s youth football teams, which was a catalyst for his active community presence. Through attending his kids’ events and coaching football in Forest Hills, Fortino has great enthusiasm for the years ahead, built by the supportive environment he’s found at FHC.

“Deciding to be the [varsity] head coach for FHC was a no brainer,” Fortino said. “To me, the coaching staff at FHC the last five years has been the best staff anyone could ever hope to work with. Every single coach puts kids first and we’re loyal to each other. They have been great colleagues and friends. To be able to step into the head coaching role with many of the same people remaining on staff is humbling and very exciting.”

Goei acknowledges Fortino’s love for FHC’s community.

“I believe Coach Fortino brings not only a wealth of football knowledge and experience but more importantly, he brings a passion for kids and a passion for this community,” Goei said. “You’re going to see Coach Fortino involved in other aspects of our FHC community. You’ll see him at other athletic events, music and fine arts events, etc. From a football perspective, he’s been a part of building the current program’s success and so him coming in will provide a level of continuity that will be extremely beneficial for our kids and our program.”

Fortino’s prior position coaching FHC’s offensive line and standing in the community has made him cherished and respected already; his introduction as the new coach two weeks ago was filled with joyous yells and concluded with a tackle from the entire team.

“FHC football is much more than just a team,” Fortino said. “To me, it’s the whole school and surrounding community that have been heavily involved in our program’s success. It has truly been an effort by all to make this one of the best-run programs in the state of Michigan. It is a very special and unique thing to have players, coaches, administrators, parents, boosters and community members all pulling in the same direction for the benefit of the school and I am very honored to be chosen to lead this program going forward.”

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Lily Ohlman
Lily Ohlman, Editor-in-Chief
Lily is a senior entering her second year on the FHC Sports Report staff, this year as Editor-in-Chief. She plays varsity tennis, is involved with the Environmental Club, and loves to immerse herself in environmental matters and concerns. Lily is additionally deeply passionate about wellness, chai tea lattes, candles, and the rain. Apart from being on the tennis court or in the classroom, she enjoys discovering new coffee shops and trying new dinner spots. Her favorite sports team is the Michigan Wolverines. If asked about the book series Throne of Glass, she would probably throw a fit of excitement. Her dream destination: Scotland Her favorite season: She cannot decide between fall or spring Something unusual she loves: The celestial world above Something she hates: The fact she can't read all the books ever written  

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