Turnovers … by Alan B. Gibson

Posted September 2, 2021 at 8:39 am

Another familiar Bulldog face gone
Although many Big Blue fans as of late might not as easily recognize his involvement and importance to our Clinton County High School athletic program, the Big Blue Family lost another high profile character last week.
Gary Farley was first a player of multi-sports for Clinton County High School in the mid 1960s, then returned to the Big Blue program in the early 70s when he earned employment with the program as a teacher.
It was during those years that Gary took on his second role within our Bulldog family – coach.
For many, many years, Gary held a very special place on Clinton County benches – often a space that is more endeared than that of head coaches.
Gary was an assistant coach to a host of CCHS teams, boys and girls basketball for the most part.
That’s how I became familiar with, and friends with Gary, who served as my J.V. assistant coach a couple of times during my high school years when I was wearing the blue and white uniform .
The role of an assistant coach is completely different from that of a head coach, and Gary served that role well.  While the head coach is the “buck stops here” character in the program, having to play the rule maker, enforcer and often the bad guy (or girl), to their players, the assistant coach’s role is completely different.
An assistant coach gets to be the consoler of hurt feelings, an advisor about how to interpret the scoldings a player just received from the head coach, and more often than not, gets to be more of a friend to the players than the head coach is afforded the chance to be.
Gary filled that role with expertise for many, many years, on both the boys’ and girls’ basketball benches, and when players left the program after graduation, as was the case with me, he remained friends with his former players.
But Gary wasn’t just a coaching figure – he played a big part on several Big Blue teams during his own high school years.
As a baseball player in the mid 1960s, Gary was alongside teammates on some of the best teams our school has ever fielded in that sport, and while I wasn’t old enough to remember those games, I’ve heard plenty of stories about those great CCHS teams of that era on the diamond.
On the basketball court, I do have stats for those years and as a J.V. player, I can still remember Gary dressing out alongside us during practices and yes – Farley had game.
Finishing his career at Clinton County High School with 478 points, his high point year came during his senior year of 1967-68, when he dropped in 247 points for the Bulldogs, and at the end of the season was named to the All-District team.
As a junior, he finished with 133 points on the squad that ended its year with a 25-5 record and lost narrowly in the semi-final round of the 4th Region tournament.
In his retirement years, Gary was most often either on the water fishing, or else telling fish stories, not only about the “one that got away”, but about the one that ended up in his live well also.
Condolences to his family, Doris, Melanie and Issac, and granddaughters – and to the rest of the Big Blue family who knew, played with, and played for Gary Farley – we all lost a good one last week.