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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

Teacher and coach Todd Hartman had his own prestigious athletic career


Baseball coach and special education teacher Todd Hartman still misses lacing up the cleats and playing the sports he loves. 

“I just love to compete. Even if we’re playing a game of checkers I want to win,” said Hartman, who is also on the FHC football coaching staff.” It’s important to compete and to do your best. Also putting as much effort into anything that you do. Whether it’s high school sports or studying for college exams.”

Like many aspiring college athletes like Hartman, they start excelling in high school. For Hartman, this was at Grand Rapids Catholic Central where he played his high school football and baseball careers. 

Hartman joined the varsity baseball and football teams his junior year at CC and excelled. He started both his junior and senior years at Catholic Central in both sports and played running back in football and shortstop and catcher in baseball. 

“I thought it was great,” Hartman said. “I loved playing athletics in high school because I loved hanging out with all of my friends at practice and working together formed a different relationship and bond. I mean, you get to know people in the class, but then when you’re working out with them or you’re going through a game with them, you have a different bond.”

During high school, Hartman achieved many honorable awards. For football, his team reached regional finals while he was named all-conference, all-area (similar to all-regionals now), and all-state honorable mention. In baseball, he also achieved all-conference. But to him, awards were all always just awards, and he always focused on the bigger picture of the team.

“Awards have really never been a big thing with me,” Hartman said. “They’re nice, but it was different. It was like, I was just brought up on the team first. It’s cool to get all these accolades and recognition, but it was always just team first with how the team does that type of thing.”

After high school and all the success that came with it for Hartman, he aspired to play college sports. However, he needed to decide whether he was going to pick baseball or football. It was a very tough decision, considering both sports were a major part of Hartman’s life for a long time. He ended up picking football after feeling a special passion for the sport. 

“Football has always been my passion,” Hartman said. “I think I was just wired that way, but I love both. I love both games, but football’s always been my first love.”

After picking football, Hartman was given the opportunity to start his college playing career at Grand Rapids Community College for football. Hartman would only end up being there his freshman and sophomore year and played a couple of positions there. Community college was really just the kickstart of what was to come in his college career. 

“At community college, I was a strong safety and a receiver,” Hartman said “It was kind of funny. So I was a receiver—pretty good hands—but when I started working out, I got a little bit bigger and then a little bit slower so I couldn’t run as well because I was a little bit bigger.” 

After his freshman and sophomore at community college, Todd was given a scholarship to play at GVSU for his remaining two years of college. And it turns out getting bigger and stronger, despite getting slower, played a factor. When he got to GVSU, he transformed into another position that ended up being his final position: inside linebacker. 

“They then moved me down into a linebacker. Inside linebacker,” Hartman said. “So more of a defensive guy. I’d rather hit somebody than get hit.”

During his two years of playing at GVSU, Hartman experienced the highs of his playing career. GVSU opened up so many new opportunities and experiences in his playing career that community college and high school didn’t offer. Hartman earned a starting spot and the team beat Ferris State for the first time in a crucial game. 

“We ended up beating Ferris State for the first time in probably five or six years,” Hartman said.”That was cool to enjoy that with the team. It was just amazing because we hadn’t beaten them in a while. I got an interception in the game; I got tackled by it on the three-yard line though, so I was a little upset about that, but it was pretty cool beating Ferris and breaking their streak.”

Athletics gave Hartman a lot of opportunities, experiences, and memories he will never forget. And when he thought it was over and time to walk away from sports forever, he was offered a coaching job to come back to GVSU. There, he coached with Brain Kelly, a college football coaching legend.

“He was the head coach when I was there,” Hartman said. “And maybe I could be at LSU [where Kelly coaches now] right now that’d be kind of cool.” 

That only lasted for one year, because Brian Kelly was offered a job at Central Michigan and Hartman had the opportunity to go. He rejected the offer to stay close to home and ultimately ended up as the baseball coach at FHC.

“He asked, ‘Hey, who wants to go to Central Michigan and be on the football staff?'” Hartman said. “I just got hired here and just got engaged. So I stayed here, and I love it. I don’t regret it.”

Hartman decided to keep coaching because of the love for the game and the excitement it brought him; he wanted to continue that joy for the kids he coached, as well. Sports have always been a huge part of Hartman’s life and they continue to be to this day. 

“I wanted to coach because it keeps me around kids and keeps me young a little bit. But the big thing was to try to get back to the game,” Hartman said. “And try to instill those work ethics that helped me get through. It’s fun to be around, especially our kids here at Forest Hills. To help them develop the love of the game, too, that I had back in the day.”

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Eli Lipke
Eli Lipke, Staff
Eli is a junior at Forest Hills Central High School, going into his second year on the FHC sports report team. Eli is a huge sports fan and loves to watch the NHL, NFL, and college football the most. Eli also plays varsity football, hockey, and soccer. Sports are Eli's favorite activity on the planet; he wouldn't want to be doing anything else. Eli loves to spend every moment of his time playing and watching sports. Something he loves: The world of sports Something he hates: Heights and roller coasters Something he wishes he did more: He wishes he would travel more His favorite food: Wings  

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