Thousand Oaks Coach Farrell Stepping Down


Jack Farrell of Thousand Oaks High, one of the most successful cross-country coaches in Southern California for the last two decades, has resigned from that position.

Farrell, 52, guided the Thousand Oaks boys to state Division I titles in 1993 and '94 and to Southern Section championships at the 4-A or Division I level in 1980, '84, '86, '92, '93 and '94.

Thousand Oaks finished second in the Southern Section championships in 1979 and '81 and in the state championships in '92.

The Lancer girls' team won the Southern Section Division I title in 1994 and finished second in the state championships that year. The team was led by junior Kim Mortensen, who won the 1995 national cross-country title and set a national high school record of 9:48.59 in the 3,200 meters during the 1996 track season.

"He's just had enough," Thousand Oaks Athletic Director Jim O'Brien said. "He's been doing this for ages. He ran this for a long, long time and I think he just got tired of it. . . . I think he just wants to do something else with his time."

This is not the first time Farrell, who began coaching at Thousand Oaks in 1975, has retired.

The 1963 graduate of Notre Dame High stepped down after the 1988 cross-country season to pursue an administrative career at Thousand Oaks.

He returned to teaching English and coaching in the fall of 1991 after learning he wasn't cut out for administrative work and after watching the Lancer cross-country program struggle in his absence.

"It's one thing to leave a school and move on and hear about the program that you coached falling on hard times," Farrell told The Times in 1994. "But it's completely different watching it happen right in front of your eyes. It's much harder to deal with."

It didn't take Farrell long to turn things around.

The Thousand Oaks boys, who failed to reach the Southern Section preliminaries in 1990, placed sixth in the 1991 section Division I championships before winning consecutive titles from 1992-94.

The 1993 team was ranked third in the nation by The Harrier magazine and the '94 squad was ranked second. The 1994 team, led by seniors Keith O'Doherty, Jeff Fischer and Kevin Marsden, was regarded by many as the best team in California since the 1972 Lompoc squad.

No successor has been chosen to replace Farrell, whom O'Brien called"semi-legendary."

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World