"The team comes first," was an oft-repeated quote from former UW-River Falls football coach Mike Farley.
According to his players and fellow coaches, Farley's team-first mantra was a significant contributor to his enduring legacy, a legacy which will now continue to live on through the newly-established Mike Farley Legacy Coaching Fund.
The Mike Farley Legacy Coaching Fund has been established to support an assistant football coaching position. To date, the fund has already received financial commitments from alumni and other donors amounting to two-thirds of the fund's initial goal. In addition to the financial support of a coaching position, new imaging representing Coach Farley and his accomplishments will be displayed at Smith Stadium at Ramer Field.
"I cannot explain how much we appreciate the efforts of the alumni, friends of the program and members of the university that have made this possible," current Falcon head football coach Matt Walker said. "I have so much respect for the history of this program and Coach Farley is the cornerstone of that tradition. To be able to honor him while finding a way to positively affect our program at the same time seems like the perfect tribute to Coach Farley, his family and the players that played for him."
Farley coached the UW-River Falls football team from 1970-88, compiling a 117-71-3 overall record. He is fifth on the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) all-time wins list, having led the Falcons to eight WIAC team championships. The 1979 team earned the Falcons' their first postseason playoff spot in football team history when they secured a berth in the NAIA Division I National Playoffs. Farley was named the WIAC Coach of the Year in 1985 and coached 95 players to All-WIAC honors, including three WIAC Players of the Year.
"There are many great accomplishments to acknowledge about Coach Farley and his impact on the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and Falcon Football," said Darryl Herrick, a former UWRF football player under Farley. "However, his greatest impact is on all the young men that he coached, mentored and guided to become productive members of society. Players came from all backgrounds and Coach Farley molded them into not only winning football teams, but great teammates. Coach's legacy far exceeds any wins and losses as it was his investment into his players that will endure."
Farley and his wife Rae currently reside in Arizona.
For more information on the Mike Farley Legacy Coaching Fund, including donation instructions, visit www.uwrfsports.com and click on the "Football" tab.