Bill Farrell was inducted into the Arizona Coaches Association Hall of Fame for his tremendous accomplishments on the high school sports scene at Paradise Valley, but it his commitment to youth basketball that earned him the admiration of parents and aspiring athletes in the Rim Country.
Farrell was enshrined in the hall alongside most of the state’s greatest high school coaches on April 28 at Phoenix Elks Lodge 3335.
“It was a great time for family, our coaches and me,” Farrell said of the festivities.
For the ceremony, Farrell was introduced by two of the most legendary basketball coaches in state high school history — Sammy Duane and Tom Bennett, both also HOF members.
His nomination and eventual selection was a no-brainer. In 20-plus years coaching basketball at PVHS, his teams won two state championships, he was twice selected the state’s boys coach of the year and won numerous regional coach of the year laurels.
He was so well thought of PVHS gymnasium was renamed in his honor.
Farrell readily admits that following retirement and his move to Payson from the Valley, he was looking forward to having more time to play one of his favorite games, golf.
But it wasn’t long before those in the Payson Parks and Recreation Department talked him into hosting youth basketball camps during fall-spring breaks and summer months. He still runs two weeklong camps in Wilson Dome every year.
Often those off-season camps turn into showcase events where elite players strut their considerable talents hoping for more recognition.
But Farrell took the opposite approach making the camps “inclusive” rather than “exclusive.”
Boys and girls of all skill levels are welcomed with open arms where they are coached by Farrell, P&R employees and Payson High School varsity and junior varsity players recruited to help.
During the camps, Farrell calls upon some of the drills, techniques and strategies he used previously in Phoenix elite camps he co-hosted with two of the biggest names in state professional basketball history — former Suns coaches and Hall of Fame members Cotton Fitzsimmons and John McLeod.
While the camp sessions stress passing, dribbling, shooting and defensive fundamentals, Farrell also makes sure emphasis is placed on qualities he holds dear — integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership.
Some campers have gone on to turn in solid junior high and high school basketball careers. For some others, however, the camps mark the end of organized play.
Regardless, most all who participate depart the camps with what Farrell calls, “the right stuff” — good attitudes, character, resourcefulness and a robust work ethic.