For the last 15 years, the scoreboard inside Walter Pyramid has been at the trusted fingertips of Jim Farrell. The Long Beach State alumnus was a loyal supporter of Beach athletics and a mainstay on the scorer’s table. On the morning of November 8, Farrell died at the age of 69 due to complications from COVID-19.
“Jim loved Long Beach State, and our campus loved him right back,” said Long Beach State Athletic Director Andy Fee. “From our coaches, staff and athletes, Jim built relationships with everyone and always had a smile to pick you up. He watched Hall of Fame coaches and countless Beach legends grace the court. And in the end, he was our All-American and we will miss him, but not forget him.”
Farrell would often travel to watch the Beach play on the road, but his home was courtside at the Pyramid, where he worked countless volleyball and basketball games.
“It will be strange to be at a game at the Walter Pyramid and not have Jim Farrell be a part of it,” said Roger Kirk, who heads the Athletic Communications department and has worked with Farrell since 2007. “His dedication to Long Beach State Athletics was so obvious and enduring, and his cheer was always a welcome part of being on press row. I will miss his jokes, his reliability, and most importantly, his kindness that was constantly present in the time that I knew him.”
Farrell was a graduate of nearby St. John Bosco High School before attending Long Beach State. He then studied at Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa before returning home to work alongside his father at their chiropractic office in Downey. Farrell would eventually continue the business on his own before his retirement in the early 2000’s.
Farrell married his late wife, Teresa, in 1989, and she was his direct connection to the scorer’s table. Teresa was a fixture at Long Beach State sporting events and was the head of the stat crew until her death in 2015 following a lengthy battle with breast cancer.
The Farrells were strong supporters of Long Beach State’s teams, and formed meaningful bonds with the coaches on campus. Women’s basketball head coach Jeff Cammon was an assistant at the Beach from 2008-14 before returning for the head job in 2017. He paid his respects on social media following Jim’s passing.
“RIP Jim!!! Jim and Teresa are two of the most amazing people,” Cammon tweeted. “He used to stop by my office before every game and give me words of encouragement. He was always super positive and supportive no matter what. Gonna miss my guy!! Prayers for the family.”
Jim was also loved by those who sat alongside him at the scorer’s table. Jim Henry has been a public address announcer at Long Beach State since 2003, and had a long friendship with Farrell.
“Working with him at the table was always fun,” Henry said. “I’d yell at him if he didn’t get points up in a timely manner, and if I made a mistake, he’d let me know, too. There was plenty of good-natured ribbing going on. He was great to work with and he was a wonderful person. He was selfless and would help you out in a second if you needed it … I was very grateful to have him as a friend.”
Glenn Murlin is a longtime Long Beach State fan who became friends with Farrell in the early ‘80’s. He would sub in for Jim on the scoreboard on the rare occasions when he had to miss, and over the years they would travel together to watch the Beach play. When the women’s volleyball team went undefeated in 1998 to bring home the national title, Jim and Glenn were there. On a game day in Long Beach, the pair would frequent local eateries like EJ Malloy’s or Hof’s Hut for a post-game meal.
In his younger years, Farrell was an elite swimmer. He swam for the Long Beach Aquatic Club, and eventually was a swimmer and water polo player at Long Beach State. While at the Beach, Farrell was coached by Hall of Fame swimming coach Don Gambril, who went on to lead the U.S. Olympic team. Farrell nearly made it to the Olympics himself in 1968, but finished in fourth place at the Olympic Trials for the butterfly, just behind the legendary Mark Spitz in third. Later in life, Farrell’s love for the water continued, and he spent his free time as an avid deep sea fisherman.
Farrell leaves behind two sisters, Mary and Barbara, and the family is waiting until it is safe to gather before holding any services.
“Like any younger sister, he was my big brother,” said Mary, who was with Jim in the hospital when he passed. “He always made it a point to care about my wellbeing. He was a good man, he cared about everybody that he came in contact with, and we learned from his example of sharing and being part of a good family. He was always there for me, and even after he’s passed, I know he’ll always be in my heart.”