Author: Sam Mowe
Oxy’s Athletic Director Dixon Farmer, ’63 will retire at the end of the academic year after seven years of heading the Tiger’s Athletic Department. Oxy Athletics have thrived under Farmer-demonstrated by this year’s accomplishments alone. Those involved with the Athletics Department this year are bidding Farmer farewell in a way that has become familiar for him over the years: in winning fashion. This year both the football and basketball teams were ranked nationally in Division III and won SCIAC league titles, the cross country team also won the league championship and was 30th at the national level, and Oxy divers finished first and second in both the 1- and 3-meter events at the national championships. These are just the most notable of a handful of triumphs for Oxy Athletics this year.
With all of this to be proud of what will Farmer take away from his time as Athletic Director at Oxy?
“[I’ll come out with] a lot of orange and black clothing,” Farmer said laughing.
Before becoming the Athletic Director Farmer’s career at Oxy started at the undergraduate level when he was a national champion in the 440 hurdles. After graduating he helped continue the winning tradition for the Tigers as a coach of the track and field team. Then after coaching stints at other schools he returned to Oxy in 2000 for the last leg of his career. Dixon’s successes have not gone unnoticed.
“Dixon has a unique perspective of not only being the AD here at Oxy, but also a former coach and student-athlete,” Men’s Water Polo coach Larry Zubrin said. “Learning from that perspective [has] really helped me understand and become a part of the Oxy community.”
“I’ve said this before but it’s a relationship business,” Farmer said. “I’m thankful to have reconnected with those people that I met here early on in my career and to work with the coaches and staff that I do.”
Farmer has also been instrumental in turning several part-time positions in the Athletic Department into full-time jobs.
“I am grateful to Dixon for the opportunity to work at Occidental,” Sports Information Director Andy Holmes said.
Also through his work with various alumni and Vice President Jon Keates, Oxy’s athletic facilities have gone through multiple renovations. The softball field was rebuilt, the football field has a new turf, the track was resurfaced, and the tennis courts, the weight room and the baseball field had work done on them.
“I think every Athletic Director wants to look back on the facilities as a lasting legacy that they left behind,” Farmer said. “That way they can come back in 40 years and see the improvements that they helped bring in.”
Despite all of these achievements, however, Farmer notes that there is still room to grow for Oxy athletics.
“The coaching staff has done a lot with limited resources,” Farmer said. “I just hope the momentum we’ve established keeps going.”
There are plans to launch a national search for a replacement for Farmer, a process which he would like to go smoothly.
“I hope they [the next AD] will be familiar with the private liberal arts approach to athletics and academics,” Farmer said. “Because it is different.”
While the school works out how to find its next Athletic Director, Farmer plans on enjoying his last couple of months at Oxy and thinking about what he will do after he retires with his wife Mary Ann to their home in San Diego.
“There is the temptation to buy a beach chair and sit in it,” Farmer said. “But I’m still healthy and have things I want to do before I have that downhill slide physically.”
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