McFarland got his start in the 1950s and 1960s at the Maverick Club and Nard’s Gymnastics in tumbling and trampoline, and eventually became one of the most recognizable names in the sport of diving with his more than 50 years as a competitor, coach, television analyst and administrator.
McFarland, who graduated from Alamo Catholic High School in 1969, began to learn the sport during the summers as a boy at Dick’s Swim Gym in Phoenix. It turned out to be life-altering. While McFarland was skilled in trampoline, the NCAA dropped the sport when he was at the University of Texas. He eventually transferred to the University of Miami and went to diving full-time. His career quickly blossomed.
Among his highlights were two AAU national championships in platform diving in 1973 and 1974 and two bronze medals at the World University Games in 1974. He was also sixth in the 1976 U.S. Olympic Trials.
In the summers he began coaching at Miami. He was an assistant in 1977, and became head coach of the Hurricanes from 1978-1984 where he coached four All-Americans. Among his divers were 1976 Olympic gold medalist Phil Boggs, and four-time Olympic gold medalist Greg Louganis, considered the greatest diver in U.S. history.
McFarland became a recognizable television voice in diving. He worked for 17 years for various networks, highlighted by coverage of the 1988 and 1992 Olympics for NBC. He transitioned to a diving judge in the 2000 and 2004 Olympics.
McFarland has been vice-president and president of USA Diving, and last year retired as CEO and chairman of Duraflex International Corp. He and wife Beth have two grown sons. They live in Lake St. Louis, Mo.