Globe West Sports Notebook

Farrell matches hall-of-fame pal

By Marvin Pave
September 4, 2011

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'The sign outside their office in Needham reads ''Barry & Farrell,'' but if they were so inclined, insurance partners Eddie Barry and Jack Farrell could add the words ''Hall of Famers.''

Now 92, Barry starred at Northeastern University in three sports (he was inducted into the NU Hall of Fame in 1976), skated for the Boston Bruins in the 1940s, and was the only hockey coach at Boston State College.

He was also inducted into the athletic hall at the University of Massachusetts Boston in 2003 because the school had merged with Boston State.

The 85-year-old Farrell had to wait a bit longer for his turn.

He's the elder statesman among 12 athletes and two administrators being inducted into the Boston College Varsity Club's Hall of Fame on Sept. 16 at Conte Forum. Farrell is believed to be the only BC athlete to earn a total of eight varsity letters in two sports.

''Eddie needles me that I'm riding on his coattails,'' said Farrell, who played football and baseball at BC in the post-WWII days, when freshmen were allowed on varsity teams because rosters were expanded to accommodate returning veterans.

''It's a great honor and very meaningful to me because I've stayed close to BC athletics and my graduating class,'' said Farrell, a 1950 grad and former Varsity Club president.

Reid Oslin, a BC spokesman and a member of the Hall of Fame selection committee, said Farrell excelled during a golden era of college sports. ''And no one has been more loyal to BC athletics than Jack,'' said Oslin.

Farrell grew up in West Roxbury and was a football, baseball, and track athlete at Boston English, where he captained the school's state championship indoor track team.

He enlisted in the Navy in 1944, serving on the destroyer USS Cowie, primarily in the Pacific, and upon his return put on the football pads with classmates, and future NFL greats, Art Spinney, Ernie Stautner, and Art Donovan.

Under head coach Denny Myers, the Eagles were 20-13-2 during Farrell's four years, and knocked off national powers Michigan State, Alabama, and Clemson, with Farrell earning All-New England honors his senior year at halfback. He scored a touchdown in his final game, a 76-0 rout of then-archrival Holy Cross.

''Another teammate was Ed King, who went pro and later became governor of Massachusetts,'' said Farrell, who still holds a BC football season ticket.

Farrell, also a standout outfielder on a BC baseball team coached by Freddy Maguire, first worked with Barry in a Boston insurance brokerage.

''It was the beginning of a great friendship,'' said Farrell. ''Our first office together was in Brookline and we moved it to Needham 38 years ago.

''We go in almost every day, but Eddie's son, Skip, and my son, Bill,'' who was a football captain at the University of New Hampshire, he noted, ''basically run the business.''

Barry, a great athlete at Wellesley High, and Farrell are longtime Needham residents.

''I'm so glad to see him honored,'' said Barry, a former New England Amateur as well as a state and New England Senior Amateur golf champion, and a revered member at Charles River Country Club in Newton. ''He's a great guy.''

The Varsity Club will introduce its hall's new members during halftime of the BC-Duke football game Sept. 17.

The incoming class includes athletic director Gene DeFilippo, a Wellesley resident; Concord resident Jack Flanagan (class of '59, football); Weston native and Belmont Hill School graduate Scott Gieselman ('85, football); and Lexington native George Ravanis ('78, baseball).

Don Croatti ('60) of Southborough, a Framingham native, a past president and recognized as the father of the BC Gridiron Club, will receive the Rev. William J. Donlon Special Achievement Award at the induction ceremony.

Wightman team makes US finals

The expression ''if at first you don't succeed, try, try again'' rings true with the Wightman Tennis Center of Weston men's team that won last weekend's New England 4.0 (advanced) championship.

The core of the team has been together since 2006 and since then has had its share of disappointment before the breakthrough victory, which will send them to the national championships in Tucson on Sept. 23-25. In 2007, playing in the New England 3.5 (intermediate) finals, the Wightman team held a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five-sets match, but dropped the next two sets in a pair of tiebreakers.

Bumped up to the 4.0 level after that performance, the group last year advanced to the district finals, but lost the deciding match, again via tiebreaker.

''We've hung in there. We're all close friends and to accomplish this after what we've been through is really euphoric,'' said team assistant captain and founder Rick Stoppe of Natick.

At the New Englands, played at Mount Holyoke College, Wightman defeated Connecticut-Western Mass., 3 sets to 2, and New Hampshire's top team (5-0) prior to its 3-2 win against Rhode Island in the championship round. Wightman's lineup at the regional event featured Owen Stearns of Newton at first singles, Geoff Silver of Weston (second singles), Adrian Grundy and John McGeough of Weston (first doubles), Stoppe and Leif Thompsen of Dedham (second doubles), and Craig Lewis of Newton along with captain Bruce Karten and Michael London of Needham at third doubles.

Team members contributing to the run to the nationals also included Bruce Patton, Court Chilton, Howard Donnelly, and Andy Marvel of Weston, Ian McDuff of Needham, Andrew Bernstein of Brookline, John Robertson of Wellesley, and Steve Ertel of Newton.

Marvin Pave can be reached at