For nearly four decades, Pete Farwell has been synonymous with Williams College.
He is as engrained into the fabric of the institution’s athletic department as the “Eph” nickname and the color purple.
Farwell graduated from Williams College in 1973 and then returned to campus six years later as head coach of the men’s cross country team. Over the next 37 years Farwell developed the Ephs into a consistent winner on the NCAA Division III level while also taking control of the women’s cross country team in 2000 and handling several positions with the track & field team, like head coach (1988 to 2001, 2008 and 2013) and assistant coach (present).
National success didn’t happen overnight for Farwell, though.
While winning Little Three titles became the norm for Farwell and his programs (76 have been won under Farwell’s watch), they didn’t hit it big at NCAAs until 1994. That’s when the Ephs handed Farwell his first NCAA team title with a 12-point win over North Central (Ill.) at the NCAA DIII Cross Country Championships in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
Williams returned to The Promised Land the following year and polished off back-to-back titles – becoming just the third men’s program in NCAA DIII history to do so until that point.
Before Farwell took over the women’s program in 2000, the highest the team finished at NCAAs was third in 1998. The Ephs finished runner-up in Farwell’s first and second year, then won their first of three NCAA titles in 2002. Williams also topped the field in 2004 and 2015.
The 2015 cross country season was a special one for Farwell as he nearly led the Ephs to an NCAA team title sweep. The women posted the largest margin of victory in meet history (98 points) and the men finished nine points behind eventual champion UW-Eau Claire.
Farwell has seen 43 cross country runners earn 67 All-America honors and guided three of his runners to individual NCAA XC titles (Jeremie Perry in 1994, Neal Holtschulte in 2005 and Chiara Del Piccolo in 2011).
As head coach of the track & field teams, Farwell won a total of 33 New England titles. On the national level, the men finished seven times in the top-10 (which included two runner-ups) while the women finished no higher than third (which they did twice).
Farwell’s harriers have accumulated 152 All-America honors and 11 national championships on the track over the years.
He has also poured countless hours into developing a training system that many coaches use to try to emulate Williams’ success on all levels.