(Story updated Monday, Feb. 5)
Jim Farthing, a veteran coach in the Cumberland County Schools who coached for many years at Pine Forest, is scheduled to be inducted into the Fayetteville Sports Club’s Hall of Fame on Wednesday, March 7, at Highland Country Club.
Farthing will be 88 in April.
“There wasn’t a hospital in Dunn,” Farthing said. “There was just Good Hope Hospital over in Erwin. My mother was a nurse. I was born in Erwin, but I lived in Dunn. That was back in the dark ages.”
Farthing grew up near Dunn High School and played football, basketball and baseball for the Greenwaves., graduating in 1948.
“The first coach I had was a fellow named Joe Langley,” Farthing said. “He left a few years after that and he went to Angier to coach. After that, I had a fellow named Jake Smith. He was from Tarboro. He was here a couple of years and he left and went back to Tarboro and went into business.
“The coach I had my senior year, his name was Paul Waggoner. That was my senior year. He was here for seven or eight years after that. … The boys back then played all three sports. We loved being together and loved playing. If we could get our parents to let us spend that much time at the ball park, that’s what we did.”
Farthing later coached all three sports at Pine Forest High School after graduating from North Carolina and serving two years in the Army.
“I guess I knew in high school that I wanted to be a coach,” Farthing said. “Back then, there weren’t so many things you could be. You could be a doctor or a lawyer or a teacher and a coach. I figured the one I could probably do would be the coach.
His first coaching job was at Linden High School, which didn’t have a gym. Farthing’s team practiced outside on a dirt court.
Pine Forest’s old campus off Highway 401 opened and Farthing coached basketball until the high school relocated to Andrews Road. Farthing assisted in football and was head coach for one year. He coached baseball for 28 years.
The gym at Pine Forest Middle School, where Farthing coached for many years on the high school level before the campus was moved, was named in his honor last year.
Farthing had 245 coaching wins in the gym that now bears his name.
“I wanted the boys to have a good time playing,” Farthing said. “I also wanted them to realize that they could have a better time if they were winning. … We tried to do what they could do best. Sometimes we ran. Sometimes we didn’t run. Most of the time we played a zone defense. I played a zone defense because I could teach a zone better than I could a man-to-man. We’d use a man-to-man once in a while.”
Long-time Dunn insurance agent Lin Ferrell was among the standout basketball players that Farthing coached.
Farthing retired from high school teaching and coaching after 30 years and began working in graduate admissions at Campbell’s schools of business and education. What he initially thought would be a short tenure at Campbell turned into 25 years.
Farthing and wife, Rosalyn, are enjoying retirement. They live on North Orange Avenue behind the house where Farthing was raised. Their daughter, Lucille, supplied the photo above that shows Farthing being carried off the court in victory.
“That was a different day,’ Farthing said. “The coaches were friends. Now it seems like they’re all mad at each other. We wanted to win, but we were friends.”
Some of Farthing’s former players endowed an athletic scholarship in his honor at Campbell. Now, he’s headed into the Hall of Fame in Cumberland County.
Farthing said he didn’t even know what to say when he was informed of his pending induction, but he’s looking forward to the special occasion with great anticipation.
The banquet honoring this year’s class on March 7 will begin with a social at 6:30 p.m. The banquet will be at 7 p.m.
Tickets are $50 and are available from Ashley Petroski at Nobles Pound Financial, 1315 Fort Bragg Road, Fayetteville, NC 28305. For more information, call (910) 323-9195.
Credit cards and cash will be accepted. Checks should be made payable to the Fayetteville Sports Club.