I have had the privilege and pleasure of living in East Texas for nearly 25 years and I have met some wonderful, interesting, and intriguing folks.  I have respected and liked Coach Farshid Niroumand from Nacodgoches High School since I first met him, but in just the last few days, when I learned much more about him, did I begin to appreciate what a truly amazing man he is. 

'Coach Farshid' is the Athletic Director at Nacogdoches I.S.D. and today (Friday) he was the guest speaker at a luncheon hosted by the Nacogdoches Chamber of Commerce.  The Chamber sent out a press release which gave a brief biography of Coach Farshid.  I usually quickly scan over such bio's if I even read them at all, but in this case I would like to thank Kelly Daniel from the Chamber for sharing this glimpse into the life and history of Coach Farshid.

He has the respect and friendship of so many in East Texas, including myself.  But, after reading the personal tribulations that he has endured, and then achieve what he has today, leads me to believe that Coach Farshid is the living blueprint of how endurance, integrity, hard work, and humility will lead to success.

Take a moment and read from a capsule of this man's story from the Nacogdoches Chamber press release.

“I am the oldest and the luckiest of the six children of Mr. and Mrs. H. Niroumand,” Coach Farshid said. “I was born on March 15, 1950, in Shiraz, Iran. My father was a laborer with no education, and my mother was a housewife with a third grade education; however, they were honorable hard working and believed in education.”

After graduating from Shah-pour High School in Shiraz in 1968, Coach Farshid joined the Iranian military. Immediately after being discharged, he arrived in the United States on Aug. 28, 1973, on a student visa with $700 dollars he had earned and saved.  At the time of his arrival, he could not speak or understand one word of English. Nevertheless, he began attending school at Kilgore College on September 1, 1973. After two semesters, Coach Farshid transferred to Stephen F. Austin State University.

“Throughout my college career, I worked odd jobs: cleaning chicken houses, washing the chicken processing company after hours, building fences, mowing yards; and, at one time working an all-night job at a donut shop,” he said. “Finally, I graduated with a master’s degree in Education in 1982. In August of 1982, I was hired by Nacogdoches I.S.D. for one year and was asked to establish a men’s soccer program; to date that one year has not ended.”

During his 30 years at Nacogdoches, Coach Farshid has been the men’s head soccer coach, served as the physical education chairperson for 14 years and as the athletic director for the past two years.

The soccer program reports 380 wins, nine district championships, 10 district runner-ups, and has advanced to the state play-offs 22 times - five times as region finalist. Coach Farshid has been honored as district coach of the year 15 times and as region coach of the year three times.

“During the 2011 school year I became most humbled by being nominated by my peers for consideration to the Texas Association of Soccer Coaches Hall of Honor,” he said. “I am also extremely proud to have been named Teacher of the Year by my colleagues in the 2005 school year. I am proudest of the fact that during my 30 years of coaching, all my players have graduated on time; and 80 to 85 percent are in college or have graduated from colleges or academies.

“The proudest time of my life though, was December 2, 1988, when I became a naturalized citizen of the United States. I am equally proud to say that I have never missed participation in the local, state, and national election process or in voting. Because of the Islamic revolution in Iran, the persecution of my family, and unpleasant events and circumstances, I have not been able to go back to visit my family since my arrival to the states in 1973,” he said.

Coach Farshid said that even though he is fortunate to be working in Nacogdoches and to be friends with some of the most decent, professional, caring and competent people at his work place and in his community, he regrets the fact that “I never had the opportunity to meet my youngest brother before his tragic death or to visit my oldest sister before her execution by hanging or to visit my parents before their deaths so that I could express my thanks and gratitude for their love and their sacrifices. Even though these regrets and memories always exist, the silver lining is that I am lucky to live in the freest country in the world; and for that I am most grateful,” he said. “To me, ‘America the land of opportunity and dreams’ is not a cliché; rather, it is a fact.”