OGDEN, Utah — Former UCLA Coach Larry Farmer has been named basketball coach at Weber State College, school officials announced Thursday.
Farmer succeeds Neil McCarthy, who resigned earlier this month to coach the New Mexico State basketball team.
Farmer was selected over four other finalists--Weber State assistant Dick Hunsaker, Dixie Coach Neil Roberts, Wyoming assistant Denny Huston and Fort Hays State (Kan.) Coach Bill Morse.
Farmer signed a three-year contract but declined to disclose what he would be paid. "It's not a lot of money, but when you see a black guy driving a Mercedes down the street, you'll know it's me," he joked.
The choice of the Denver native broke a long school tradition of elevating an assistant Weber coach to head the team.
Farmer is Weber State's fifth basketball coach since it became a four-year college in 1962. McCarthy led the team for 10 seasons.
"It was a dream come true for me," Farmer said. "I look forward to getting myself in a new winning program."
Weber State "did a great job of recruiting me, though they really didn't have to. I would have taken it, anyway," he added.
Farmer played on three NCAA championship teams under Coach John Wooden during his three seasons as a letterman at UCLA--1970 to 1973. He became the Bruins' coach in 1981 after six years as an assistant coach, then was replaced by Walt Hazzard last spring.
Since then, Farmer has assisted as commentator on radio and television broadcasts for the Denver Nuggets in the National Basketball Assn.
He said plans to stress recruiting because five Wildcats will be graduating this year. "Ideally, you build the program from the freshman level. But until I get the high school program established, we'll have to go to the junior college ranks," he said.
Weber State Athletic Director Gary Crompton called Farmer "a proven head coach. He was in the best basketball program in the last two decades. He played under John Wooden. The guy is just an impeccable athlete."
Crompton said the deciding factor in Farmer's favor was his potential as a recruiter. Farmer recruited and coached eight future NBA players during his stint at UCLA, Crompton said.
"There are enough good players out there that if you work hard enough, you're going to find them," he added.
Farmer said he thought the main reasons he got the job were his UCLA experience and his experience in national recruiting.