Retired NBA, college coach now leads Woodlands Academy basketball

Larry Farmer experienced great collegiate success as a member of the three-time NCAA national champion UCLA Bruins basketball team coached by the legendary John Wooden in the early 1970s. During Farmer’s years at UCLA, the Bruins had an 89-1 record. Next, he was drafted by the NBA Cleveland Cavaliers and the ABA (at the time) Denver Nuggets before concluding his professional playing career in Germany. There, he transitioned to the sidelines setting the stage for a nearly 40-year coaching career at both the NBA (Golden State Warriors assistant) and collegiate levels.   

Farmer returned to his alma mater, UCLA, as its head basketball coach. He also served as head coach at Weber State and Loyola University/Chicago as well as an assistant coach at University of Hawaii, North Carolina State and Western Michigan.

But when Farmer decided to retire to spend more time with family, his lifelong dream to coach high school basketball remained unfulfilled.  That dream has now come true as Farmer assumes leadership of the Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart basketball program this season. And Interim Athletic Director Sierra Leigh says the all-girls college-prep high school in Lake Forest could not be more excited to have him there.

“Coach Farmer brings a philosophy that I have carried on through my years of coaching that I truly believe our student-athletes will strive and grow with,” Leigh said. “His personality shaped by his own journey, willingness for opportunity, and understanding of the Sacred Heart has brought him into our organization with open arms. He exemplifies many qualities and will be a shining light for the entire Woodlands Academy community as we look forward to a very exciting 2022-23 basketball season.”

Farmer, who currently resides in Gurnee, says he is excited about this opportunity to coach at the high school level and can’t wait to start the season. “There is a level of enthusiasm and excitement surrounding Woodlands’ program that definitely got my attention,” he added.

Woodlands Academy is a member of the Independent School League, an Illinois High School Association affiliate comprising nine Chicago area private secondary schools.

In addition to his new coaching duties at Woodlands Academy, Farmer has kept busy during retirement writing a book titled “Role of A Lifetime,” due to be released Feb. 21, 2023.