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2018 Niagara Athletics Hall of Fame inductee profile: Doug Farrell


NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. -- Doug Farrell, a native of Rochester, New York, was a two-sport athlete for the Purple Eagles from 1969-73. He was a four-year member of the basketball program (1969-73) and played three seasons on the baseball team where he was selected in the Major League Baseball (MLB) Draft twice (1971 and 1972) during his time at Niagara University.

On the hardwood, he was a consistent contributor for the Purple Eagles. He saw action in 74 games in three seasons playing on the varsity team.  He was a member of the team that played in the 1972 NIT Championship game and finished the season with a 21-9 record.  

At the conclusion of the 1972-73 basketball season, the Our Lady of Lebanon Church recognized Farrell as its "unsung hero" for being outstanding in athletics and sportsmanship at the 20th Annual Sports Appreciation Breakfast.

Farrell excelled on the diamond - on the mound, in the field and at the plate. Farrell was selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the second round of the 1971 MLB Draft and in the third round of the 1972 MLB Draft.

The ace right-hander led the 1972 Purple Eagles in innings pitched (46) and in strikeouts (72), while posting a 1.17 ERA. He finished fourth in the NCAA with 14.1 strikeouts per nine innings. Farrell, who also played in the outfield, batted .304 for the season. He tossed a no-hitter to conclude the 1972 season as Niagara finished with a then-school record 21 wins, including going 4-0 against Little 3 rivals Canisius and St. Bonaventure. Farrell, who captained the 1973 team, graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Commerce in 1973.

He coached basketball at Bishop Kearney from 1975-1980, before starting a 21-year career as a basketball official under the auspices of the International Association of Approved Basketball Officials. During his 21 years, he served eight years on the Executive Committee, was the 1999 Official of the Year and the number one rated official in the area. He was inducted into the Section Five Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003.
After a 20-year career at Xerox Engineering Systems, he currently works at Videk, Inc., which is a vision inspection company that works with the IRS, Post Office, and multiple insurance and banking industries.
PE.com: Why did you decide to attend Niagara University?
Doug Farrell: I started following Calvin Murphy and Niagara in 1967. Along with Niagara alumni's family, I would search radio stations to listen to the games. During Calvin's freshman year, Niagara traveled to Rochester to play St. John Fisher College. Calvin was magical and scored 35 points and I immediately became a fan of the Purple Eagles. In 1969, Frank Layden offered me a full athletic scholarship and I was ecstatic. This was one of the reasons that I elected to forego a professional career with the New York Mets.

PE.com: What moment or moments from your time as a student-athlete do you look back upon with the most fondness?
DF: A major accomplishment for me was making every travel roster for three years. I believe our 1971-1972 basketball schedule was Niagara's best ever. The teams included were LaSalle, DePaul, St. Joe's, St. Peter's, Long Island, Canisius, St. Bonaventure, Providence, Dayton, Villanova, Iona, St. John's, Texas El Paso, Princeton and Maryland. The competition was exceptional as were the facilities and the travel. Also, pitching a no-hitter against Gannon University in 1972.

PE.com: How have your experiences as a student-athlete aided you in your professional career?
DF: I believe being a good team player throughout high school and college was a key factor in my professional development. Knowing your role and accepting that role is sometimes very difficult. Quite often you hear people disgruntled over certain situations and decide to create issues or leave the program. This experience has made me accountable and responsible in getting objectives accomplished on time.

PE.com: What is the most important lesson you learned as a student-athlete?
DF: The most important lesson I learned was time management and setting priorities in my life. How to plan for study, practice schedules, travel and still keep close to your family while being true to yourself. It has made me accountable and responsible in getting objectives accomplished on time.

PE.com: Did you have a memorable coach, teacher, advisor, mentor, etc.? What important lessons did she/he impart?
DF: My high school baseball and basketball coach, Ed Nietopski, was my mentor. He was a physical education teacher at a parochial high school for 40 years and raised 8 children. He always included religion, family and loyalty in everything he did. He never let anyone get too full of themselves and tried to keep everyone accountable. I still see him from time to time, now 90 years old, and credits his Polish heritage for his long life.

PE.com: What have your friendships/relationships with your teammates meant to you through the years?
DF: My friends and teammates through high school have remained loyal and life-long friends. I am forever grateful for my college friends and coach who have remained by my side throughout the past 50 years. They are Ron Campe, Jim Hegmann, Pat Burke and Bill Bradshaw. They are the family that you choose.

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