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Mike Farley - UW-River Falls

03/01/1994, 12:00am CST
By Wisconsin Sports Network

Born January 14, 1934 in St. Louis, Missouri

Graduate of Alton Senior High School, Alton, Illinois, 1951, B.S. Degree from University of Illinois, Feb. 1958, M.S. Degree from University of Illinois, Aug. 1958 Additional Graduate Credits - UW-Parkside, UW-River Falls

Coached football at:

Pardeeville High School 1958-61;

Portage High School 1961-63;

Sparta High School 1963-67;

Racine Park High School 1967-70;and

UW-River Falls 1970-88.

At Pardeeville, Mike had a record of 12-11-1 and 1 championship. At Sparta he had a record of 23-8-2 with one undefeated season. At Racine Park his record was 16-7-4 in the tough Big Eight Conference. At UW-River Falls Mike's record was 117-71-3 with championships of the WSUC in 1975, 1976, 1979, 1980, 1984, 1985, 1986, and 1987. Mike also coached basketball, curling, baseball, volleyball, and golf winning a state championship in golf at Racine Park in 1970.

Mike graduated from Alton, Illinois High School. At Alton he was an outstanding athlete in baseball. Mike was All State in baseball in 1951 and participated in the Baltimore Orioles professional baseball system in 1953 and 1954. He entered the University of Illinois in 1954 and played on their baseball team staying on as an assistant coach after graduation in 1958.

Mike was named WSUC coach of the year in 1975, 1979 and 1985. He was also named Coach of the Year by the NAJA District 14 in 1975. The American Football Coaches Association named him their Coach of the Year for District 6 in 1979 and 1985. In 1986 he received the Teacher of the Year Award presented by the College of Education, UW-River Falls. Mike also was named the recipient of the Dave McClain Service Award in 1989. He also was inducted into the UW-River Falls Hall of Fame in 1989 as well as the NAJA District 14 Hall of Fame in 1990.

Mike was the featured speaker at one hundred-plus banquets and clinics, including the Shrine All-Star Banquet, WHSFCA All-State Banquet, WHSFCA Hall of Fame Banquet and Coach of the Year Football Clinic. He originated and directed the football camps at UW-River Falls beginning in 1971. Several camps were featured in Sports Illustrated, ABC-TV's "Wide World of Sports" program and the TV Guide. Camp attendance varied from 600 to 1, 100 players. The good will the camps provided for the UW-River Falls, as well as serving as a recruiting tool, is second to none. Mike produced winning teams at all four coaching situations taking three different league "doormats" and building them into championship programs.

He was not interested in the Division 1 level of coaching with its emphasis on entertainment. His desire was to teach young men how to "try!" He was the coach who instilled within his student athletes the desire to "try," giving them something of a lasting value. Mike challenged his players to learn what "try" really means. They had to learn to overcome adversity and learn to improve themselves to the maximum. He constantly instructed his players to welcome all challenges, thereby learning if they would truly "try" as an individual; then the team would always succeed.

Mike resigned his coaching position at UW-River Falls in 1988 after winning four consecutive conference championships in 1984, 1985, 1986 and 1987.

Tag(s): Hall of Fame