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Legendary Brawley coach Farrell dies

October 29, 2001|By TOM RONCO, Special to this newspaper

Legendary Brawley Union High School football coach Robert "Bob" Farrell died late Friday in San Diego after a short illness.

Word of his illness was confirmed for Wildcat football fans when a moment of silence in Farrell's honor was observed before the Brawley and Calexico football game Friday at Warne Field in Brawley. The field was the scene of many of his victories.

Last year Farrell was honored at the Victory Bell game in Brawley. At half-time that night he was driven around the field and received a standing ovation from both Central Union High School, where he started his local coaching career, and Brawley high fans.

Many of his former players returned to spend dinner and the game with their former mentor, and the players were introduced along with Farrell and his family. They stood behind him during the ceremony, a living testimony to his influence on their lives and the devotion they still felt after nearly 50 years since their playing days.


Farrell's career in the Imperial Valley actually began at Central, where he coached the junior varsity football team to a 30-1-1 record from 1946 to 1949. Those players formed the core of the Spartan teams that would lose a Southern Section CIF championship game in 1947 and tie for the CIF crown with Paso Robles in 1948.

Brawley Union High then hired the young Farrell, who was eager to be a head coach.

It was a wise move by the Wildcats as Farrell led them to 13 Imperial Valley League championships and three Southern Section CIF Small School Division titles.

For good measure, Farrell won 14 of the 15 Bell Games his teams played against his former employer.

Farrell, who also coached Brawley's track and field and basketball teams, coached the Wildcats in football from 1950 through 1964 and then spent the remainder of his career in education as a well-respected administrator at Brawley Union High.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

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