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Farley's goal is leading Falls' hoops team back into title contention

New coach will focus on toughness

May 6, 2013

You could say new Menomonee Falls boys basketball coach Ben Farley had connections and you'd be right.

His brother, Andy, is the former head coach at his alma mater Brookfield East and is now an assistant principal Falls, and Corey Golla, a former middle schoolteacher of his and athletic director at East, is now the principal at Falls.

But in his mind, all that inside knowledge does is make him want to work all the harder.

"Like any new coach, I have to go out there and prove myself," said Farley, who accepted the contract early last week, "I'm excited about the challenge and I'm excited to prove that I'm capable of doing it well."

To Falls Athletic Director Ryan Anderson, it wasn't the connections that got Farley the job out of a field that included more than 40 candidates including some high-powered area names, but it was his background, his powers of persuasion and his energy that did the job.

"The selection committee and I are ecstatic to add coach Farley to our coaching staff at MFHS," Anderson said. "He has made a name for himself at Brookfield East as a defensive guru in basketball. Farley is a coach who stood out among the 42 applicants. He is a gym rat who will teach basketball skills, hard work and determination to each young man in our program. This hire is big to help move our program toward success in and out of the classroom."

Star football player

And what Farley does bring to the Indians is a winning attitude. The former NOW All-Suburban defensive back in football at East was part of the first Spartan team ever to qualify for the state football playoffs in 2002 and he was in at the start as a defensive back a few years later when the UW-Whitewater football team began its recent run of NCAA Division III national championships.

He was also a key cog of East basketball and baseball teams.

An ambitious sort, Farley has both a bachelor's and a master's degree in business administration and is working on another master's in school counseling. He works at the Medical College of Wisconsin and also works part-time for the Wauwatosa School District.

He has worked as an assistant for current East boys basketball coach Matt Malett for some time and before that with his brother, Andy.

He brings an intense, physical style of play, one that has football roots and is linked to the famed efforts of legendary Michigan State coach Tom Izzo.

All that leads Farley to laugh when people ask him things like "Why did a fine defensive back like you get into basketball?"

"I actually get that question all the time," he said with a laugh, "and I tell people I've heard Izzo say that they're (football and basketball) the same sport. You use the mentality. Andy (his brother) did, too, in his preparations. The passing, other aspects of the games, are very similar."

Unifying the team

And Farley will work hard on bringing unity and togetherness to the program as he will be the third coach in three years (Dan Leffel, who replaced Ben Siebert, left for family reasons after two years at the end of this most recent campaign).

"Our student-athletes will exemplify our three principles," Farley said. "Tough, strong, together. We will take pride ourselves and work every day in building our identity of being the hardest-working team in the Greater Metro Conference."

He said his teams will be marked by intense defensive play, the ability to score in the halfcourt and they will also have the ability to run when the opportunity presents it.

"To build a championship level team you have to be able to do all those things," he said.

Farley was able to have a meeting with the team last week and he was greatly encouraged by the 50 or so players who came out to the first open gym he held. He has scheduled two more open gyms this week.

"I love the kids and the coaches out here," Farley said. "I have a ton of friends in the area. I'm still learning all the logistics of being a head coach. This is an amazing opportunity. I'm really looking forward to getting started."

And, oh yes, of those aforementioned connections to East that were mentioned earlier, particularly the person he grew up with and who he worked for and with whom he probably had more than just a few sibling-style moments with over the years, well, he'll let bygones be bygones.

"Oh I'm going to utilize him (big brother Andy) in any shape, manner or form that I can," laughed Ben.

At a glance

New coach faces changes right away

WHO WON'T BE THERE: Coach Ben Farley will work hard with whomever comes out for the sport next winter, but the Indians will be short one key potential returnee as freshman guard Juwan McCloud, who earned honorable mention All-GMC honors last season for Falls, and his family have already moved back into Germantown. It was about four years ago that the McClouds moved from Germantown into Falls, when Juwan's older brother, Jalen, also a fine basketball player, was entering his senior year. The McClouds applied for a waiver to the WIAA's transfer eligibility rules (if done after the sophomore year, the player loses a year of eligibility) but were turned down and Jalen did not play basketball his senior year. Germantown is the two-time WIAA state Division 1 defending basketball champion and returns six of its top eight players.

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