Dixon Farmer ’63 gave up on swimming to concentrate on track after seeing the Olympic Trials in Los Angeles as a teenager in 1956. Good call: The Orinda native won the 440 and 180 low hurdles at the 1959 high school state championships, and two years later became the NCAA 440 hurdles champion as a sophomore at Oxy. A leading figure in U.S. track and field for more than half a century, Farmer remained at Oxy as an assistant track and cross country coach soon after graduating. During his tenure, the Tigers continued their domination in the SCIAC, winning team championships in both sports for seven consecutive years.
Farmer left Oxy for the University of Michigan as head track and cross country coach in 1972. Subsequently, he was successful at every level of competition, winning conference coach of the year honors three times while at San Diego State and at Gustavus Adolphus College, and the USA Track & Field President’s Award for service to the sport in 1994. Farmer was working as track and field coordinator for the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista when he was recruited back to Oxy by then-President Ted Mitchell as athletic director in 2000. He retired from the College in 2007 and remains much in demand as a public address announcer at track and field events nationwide.