Elyse Baron | Echo
Community is something constantly talked about at Taylor, but for football head coach Ron Korfmacher it is more than just an idea - it is reality.
Having attended Taylor, along with his wife Julie, Korfmacher never expected to move back to Upland after graduation. Having married on Aug. 20, 1983, a year after his college graduation, Korfmacher was looking forward to pursuing a master's program in Colorado and working to become a football coach. Even when, a few years later, the couple moved back to Upland so Korfmacher could take a position as an assistant football coach, he still was hoping to pursue further education in Colorado.
"But as things unfolded, those doors didn't open wide open," Korfmacher said.
The doors that did open were at Taylor. Starting with the birth of their first child, Sara, in 1988, Korfmacher and his wife began putting down roots. The arrival of their other two children, Ben in 1990 and Rachel three years later, further cemented the fact that the family would be staying in Upland.
Until the early 2000s, Korfmacher and his family lived in a house in what is today the parking lot behind the campus Post Office. The direct, physical connection to Taylor provided a safe place for Korfmacher's children to play, whether roller blading, biking or even sledding. Sara and Rachel would continually go through the backyard to use the campus as a safe place to play on their own. Ben, however, was unable to participate in the same manner.
Korfmacher discovered his son was autistic when Ben was young. Such an announcement caused changes in family life, but Korfmacher saw the chance to grow in faith and personal relationships.
"I think, when you have your first child, (the) second comes along and they're different," Korfmacher said. "By all means they are different. . . . (But) you're eager to learn, listen, grow."
These differences meant that staying in the same neighborhood was a better choice due to Ben's needs. Korfmacher turned to the Taylor and Upland community. That step led to an understanding of what a privilege it was to be a father to three children, and, for the past ten years, head coach of the football team.
To Korfmacher, raising his children, each with different, unique talents, greatly impacted his coaching. The partnership of parenting his children carried over into the teamwork found between himself and the other coaches, as well as the players on the football team.
What Korfmacher and the other coaches can teach the players about life, both on and off the field, is just as important as the friendships the players make during their four years at Taylor. Just as Korfmacher saw the Upland community come around his son and family, he can see the football players support each other on the field, in school and in faith.
"It's not just about these four years," Kofmacher said. "It's about the following. . . . It's a process, but that process can't be shortcut. That process can't be accelerated."
"Photograph by Brad Timmerman"