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Princeton head coach Peter Farrell
Courtesy: Princeton Athletic Communications

Peter Farrell Announces Retirement After 39 Years As Head Coach

By: Princeton Athletic Communications
          Release: 04/08/2016
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TigerBlog On Peter Farrell's Retirement

PRINCETON, N.J. (4/8/16) - Peter Farrell, the only coach in the history of Princeton women’s track and field, has announced that he will be retiring at the end of the year.

“After 39 incredible years I will be retiring from my position as the first and only Princeton women’s track and cross country coach,” Farrell said. “It has truly been an honor to coach here. There have been incredible experiences and memories that I will always hold dear. I’ve been proud of the young women I have coached and all they have achieved not only on the track here as student-athletes, but the incredible people they become after graduating. This was a professional experience I dreamed of as a young man. I was sitting in my dorm at Notre Dame and looked over at my college roommate and said to him ‘what does a kid with a history degree do for a living?’ I found my way to a terrific professional career as the head coach of Princeton women’s track and cross country.”

Farrell guided the Tigers to 27 Ivy League team titles and coached 55 All-Americas and 182 Ivy League champions. He led the program to the Ivy League Triple Crown in 1980-81 and 2010-11 and is the only Ivy women's coach ever to achieve this feat even once.

Peter Farrell is one of Princeton’s legendary coaches. For 39 years, he has consistently distinguished himself as one of Princeton Athletics finest teachers, both on the track and off,” Ford Family Director of Athletics Mollie Marcoux said. “Peter has been a pioneer in the growth of women’s sports at Princeton, and he has positively impacted the lives of thousands of Princeton athletes in his time here with his strong values, loyalty, leadership, mentorship and humor. His legacy will be one of great competitive success combined with a firm commitment to Education through Athletics. Peter will be sorely missed within the department and throughout the University. We wish him the best of luck in his retirement.”

“Thirty-nine years ago both Peter and I arrived on the Princeton campus,” Princeton men’s track & field coach Fred Samara said. “I'm sure neither of us thought that we would coach for that long a time. Peter’s coaching record speaks for itself, he's a Hall of Fame Coach. What has impressed me through the years is how he interacts with his team and handles every problem that may arise with wonderful consistently and understanding. Peter leaves Princeton with a legacy that will be hard to duplicate.”

The cross country team has been a regional and national power. The squad posted back-to-back fifth-place finishes at the NCAA Championships in 2008 and 2009. In fact the Tigers have finished among the top 15 teams at the NCAA Championship meet six times in the last 12 years. With 11 NCAA team appearances, seven Tigers have earned All-America honors. Winning nine Ivy League Heptagonal titles, the highlight came in 2009 when the Tigers had a 1-2-3-4-5 finish for a perfect score – something that had never been done in Ivy League history.

During the winter season, Farrell has helped to guide the indoor track & field team to nine Ivy League titles. Fourteen Tigers have competed at the NCAA Championships, most recently first-team All-America Cecilia Barowski who was sixth in the 800. She has since qualified for US Olympic Trials, with Farrell as her coach. Barowski is the fourth athlete Farrell will coach at the US Trials. Three former athletes went on to compete in the Olympics, three-time Olympian and bronze medalist Lynn Jennings, Debbie St. Phard and Katie McCandless.

Outdoors, Farrell has claimed nine Ivy League titles and has sent 27 Tigers to the NCAA Championships. A total of 23 student-athletes have been award 29 All-America honors. 2014 brought the program’s first NCAA Champion in hammer thrower Julia Ratcliffe. Ratcliffe who has taken the year off from Princeton this year to train for the Olympics in her home country of New Zealand, was the nation’s leader all season and had an undefeated year. The semifinalist for The Bowerman Trophy, awarded to the top collegiate track & field athlete in the nation was the NCAA runner-up this past spring.

A national search for Farrell’s successor will begin this spring.

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