WILLIAMSTOWN, MA -- The Williams College men's and women's track and field teams will host their lone spring home meet Saturday at 12:00 p.m. when they compete in the Dick Farley Invitational.
The 2016 Farley Invitational is a throwback to the early days when Farley was the head coach of Williams' men's and women's track field as it will be a dual meet. Year in and year out Williams and MIT are among the top teams in New England in both men's and women's track and field. The Williams-MIT track and field rivalry stretches back over two decades as they have battled for New England DIII honors.
Dick Farley is now in his 45th year coaching Williams' track and field teams even though he retired in 2014. For 16 years Farley was the head track and field coach for the men and then he added the women's team to his resume when that team achieved varsity status in 1977.
Farley's first Eph track team competed on a cinder one-third of a mile track that circled both the football and baseball fields at Weston Field. In 1987 the Eph teams moved to the one-quarter mile Tony Plansky All-Weather Track that circled just the football field. In 2015 the Ephs moved to the Lee Track that was funded by the family of James B. Lee '75. Farley coached James Lee in indoor and outdoor track.
When Farley was named the Ephs' head football coach in 1987 he relinquished his head track coach mantle and became an assistant track coach for both men and women during the outdoor season.
Farley is in his second year as a volunteer assistant track coach at Williams, bringing his total number of years coaching Eph track to 45. The 45 years Farley has been involved with Williams track translates to an incredible commitment to Wiliams' men's and women's track and field as it spans many years of doing both men's and women's track indoors and out as the head coach of both teams and then later as an assistant to both teams outdoors and then reverting back to both indoor and outdoor track when he retired as the head football coach, and now he serves as a volunteer assistant coach for both teams indoors and out.
Farley spent 32 years coaching Eph football. The first 15 years Farley was an assistant coach and the last 17 years he was the head coach, logging the first five perfect seasons in Eph football history. In 2006 Farley was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. He is also the Farley in Farley-Lamb Field, where the Ephs currently play football and lacrosse and could play soccer if need be.
"We can think of no better way to honor coach Farley than with a classic dual meet match up vs. MIT," noted Eph head women's track and field coach Nate Hoey. "The two schools have had some epic competitions over the years and this will be a fun competitive meet here on campus."
When Dick Farley was a standout track and football athlete at Boston University in the 1960s he would often line up against MIT athletes as everyone competed in the same division back then.
This will be current Eph head men's track coach Ethan Barron's first experience with a dual meet, including his time as a competitor in high school, college and his collegiate coaching career.
"Sometimes I feel that our sport has done itself a disservice moving towards these huge invitational meets every weekend," said Ethan Barron. "Athletes have always performed their best when they ignore the clock (and the tape measure) and simply race the guy next to them. Most of my time is spent getting guys into that mindset of just competing. That is increasingly difficult in these larger, more anonymous meets. When you look back at the older meets and the times that people used to run on cinder tracks, it flies in the face of these invitational meets. Just put two rivals on the track together and let them race for pride, you'll see some fast times...and some exciting races."