ADA TOWNSHIP, Mich. - Imagine being coached by a pro. Kids at Forest Hills Central don't have to imagine. They live it every day in Ranger country.
Ty Hallock coaches the freshman and junior varsity teams at FHC, while Vander Wal is a scout team coach.
Hallock played fullback at Michigan State University. He was then picked in the seventh round of the 1993 NFL Draft. His career lasted until 2000 and he spent time with the Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Chicago Bears.
Vander Wal played for eight Major League Baseball teams from 1991 to 2004. In 1995 during his time with the Colorado Rockies, he broke the record for most pinch hits in a season and that record still stands today.
Both of them have had kids go through Forest Hills Public Schools and both are happy to spend their time helping teach the next generation lessons about football, and more importantly, life.
"You're not doing it at this level for the money," Vander Wal said. "You're doing it for the love of the game and for the love of the school and to get the kids better."
"Football's not everything. It's a vehicle to make you a better person," Hallock said. "We're pushing to win because that's what the objective is, but we're also trying to become winning people."
What's even more valuable to FHC's football program than Hallock's pro experience is how he connects with players.
"Kids really want to play for him," said head coach Tim Rogers. "When he comes around and he says something nice to you after spending nine or so years in the NFL, that means a lot."
The year Rogers came to Forest Hills Central, the Rangers had to drop their junior varsity program because not enough kids went out for the team. Experience at the lower levels is crucial to young players developing.
"We kind of vowed that that was never going to happen again," Rogers said.
Not only did the Rangers get their JV program back, this year's turnout has been the highest of any team Rogers has had during his eight years at FHC, and he gives a lot of credit to Hallock.
"He tells the parents he loves the kids and he means it," Rogers said.
Other sports headlines on 13 ON YOUR SIDE:
- Jessi Combs, 'fastest woman on four wheels,' dies in crash trying to break record
- Viral gymnast Katelyn Ohashi to pose in ESPN's Body Issue
- Forest Hills Northern looking to get back into playoffs
►Make it easy to keep up to date with more stories like this. Download the 13 ON YOUR SIDE app now.