2015-03-06 / Front Page

‘Bo’ knows hoops hall of fame

Former Scarborough and Bowdoin star Ed McFarland will be inducted in August
By Michael Kelley
Staff Writer

This winter Edward “Bo” McFarland has been driving 2½ hours from his home in Northborough, Massachusetts to Bowdoin College in Brunswick to help guide the men’s basketball team on game days. McFarland, a 1965 graduate of Scarborough High School, has helped to develop the program for the last five years, but his contributions to Bowdoin athletics date back to the 1960s, when McFarland excelled on both the basketball court and baseball diamond.

McFarland, a 1969 Bowdoin graduate, still holds several school records, including career free-throw percentage (.870); most free throws in a game (23 in a game against Wesleyan University Feb. 11, 1967); and best points per game average for a season (25.1 in 1968-1969). He is second in single season points (528 in 1968-1969), most points in a game (42 versus Brandeis University his senior year) and career free throws (474). He is ninth in career scoring (1,356 points).


Edward “Bo” McFarland, a 1965 graduate of Scarborough High School, was recently named to the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame, primarily for his offensive prowess as a member of the Bowdoin College men’s basketball team from 1966 to 1968. McFarland, who is now a volunteer coach for the program, still holds many school records. (Photos courtesy of Bowdoin College) Edward “Bo” McFarland, a 1965 graduate of Scarborough High School, was recently named to the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame, primarily for his offensive prowess as a member of the Bowdoin College men’s basketball team from 1966 to 1968. McFarland, who is now a volunteer coach for the program, still holds many school records. (Photos courtesy of Bowdoin College) Last month McFarland and many other notable players in Maine basketball history were named to the 2015 class of the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame. McFarland joins 28 other players, several coaches, officials and other “legends of the game,” as well as the 1954 Ellsworth High School boys’ basketball team as honorees.

“I was very pleased,” McFarland said of the honor. “I live in Massachusetts now, but Maine is still home for me.”

McFarland is the second individual with Scarborough connections to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Last year, Lisa Manning, an education technician and coach in Scarborough, was honored. Manning, one of 16 players honored, led Westbrook High School to four straight Class A state titles from 1978 to 1981. Manning helped Old Dominion University win the NCAA championship over the University of Georgia in 1985.

“It’s a pretty significant honor,” said Tony Hamlin, chairman of the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame’s selection committee. “We are very comfortable with this class. Bo was an offensive machine and a phenomenal athlete.

Hamlin said McFarland was a unanimous choice for induction.

“He was probably the best college basketball player in Maine his junior and senior year at Bowdoin,” said Hamlin, a former basketball coach at South Portland High School. “He’s one of those hallmark players from the 1960s.”

The basketball program at Bowdoin started in 1941, but didn’t have back-to-back winning seasons until McFarland’s senior year. The program’s first winning season came in 1944-1945, when Bowdoin went 5-2.

“Bowdoin’s basketball had been down a little bit,” McFarland said. “My 1968 team was the (second) team to have a winning record in the history of the school. We helped to turn the program around a little bit.”

From 1967-1969 — McFarland’s junior and senior years – Bowdoin went 31-11. It wouldn’t be until the 1979-1980 and 1980-1981 seasons that Bowdoin again had back-to-back winning seasons. Since 2010, when McFarland began as a volunteer coach, Bowdoin has won 60 percent of its games (64-42), going 37-14 over the last two seasons.

“It’s been a terrific experience,” McFarland said of coaching at Bowdoin. “I have a great fondness for the place. I have developed a close relationship with (head coach) Tony Gilbride. I have helped with recruiting, so I get to meet a lot of players and parents and talk about the school. It has been a rewarding experience for me personally,” McFarland said.

McFarland was born in Brunswick on the Bowdoin campus, but moved to Scarborough with his family when he was 13 years old. His father, Edward “Packy” McFarland, a member of the Maine Sports Legends Hall of Honors and Maine Baseball Hall of Fame, was a teacher and coach at Scarborough High School for more than 25 years. The baseball field at Scarborough High School is named in his honor.

The Maine Basketball Hall of Fame started last year to honor those players, coaches and officials who contributed to the rich history of basketball in this state. Hamlin said to be honored, players have to be finished with their playing careers for at least 20 years and have played between 1945 and 1995.

“Right now we are favoring those people who are a little older. We want to make sure we get those people,” Hamlin said.

A lot has changed about the game since the 1960s when McFarland played.

“The 3-point shot has changed the game. We didn’t have that when I played. Freshmen were not allowed to play varsity ball. You could only have three years on varsity,” McFarland said, adding players are bigger and stronger now and the game is played at a faster pace.

As skilled as McFarland was at basketball, Hamlin said baseball was also something McFarland excelled at. According to Bowdoin’s athletic website, McFarland, a 1989 inductee in the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame, “was a stellar baseball player while at Bowdoin, earning All- New England honors and batting .328 while serving as captain his senior year. He was a two-time All-Maine selection and earned All-Star status while playing in the Cape Cod League in the summer of 1968.”

The Kansas City Royals drafted McFarland. According to baseballreference.com, McFarland spent two years playing second base, shortstop and third base in the Royals’ minor league system, playing with the Corning Royals in the New York- Pennsylvania League in 1969 and the Waterloo Royals in the Midwest League in 1970. While with Corning, McFarland batted .274 over 124 at bats and compiled 14 runs and 11 runs batted in. The following season in 47 games, McFarland batted .205 with 17 runs and 12 runs batted in, before stepping away from baseball.

The Maine Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony is scheduled to take place Sunday, Aug. 23 at noon at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.

For more information about this year’s class, visit www.mainebasketballhalloffame.com.

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