Two giants of the local wrestling community died Friday, John Farr in the morning and Jim Morgan in the afternoon, according to reports.
Both went on to distinguished coaching careers after wrestling for the University of Chattanooga, which became the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga while Morgan was the Mocs coach. He also briefly was the Red Bank Junior High coach while Farr was the coach at Red Bank High, where he went 99-45-4 from 1958 to 1969 with three state championships (1963-65) and 31 individual state champs.
Steve Highlander, who wrestled for Morgan at UTC and followed Farr as the Central High coach, likened their local impact and the irony of their same-day passing to the impact on a national scale of the deaths of former presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Adams on the same Fourth of July.
"Both of them were pioneers in wrestling in Tennessee and the South and made major impacts on the lives of many young men and coaches," Highlander said.
Morgan, a McCallie graduate who coached at Pinecrest Academy in Florida before coming home to lead the Mocs, followed his highly successful UTC career with continued success at Baylor School.
Farr started a wrestling program at Chattanooga State and directed eight state tournaments in the 1960s, officiated NCAA Division I tournament matches in 1967 and 1968 and served on the high school national federation wrestling rules committee and advisory board.
"John was a great man who was so helpful to so many young people," Greater Chattanooga Sports Hall of Fame president Catherine Neely said, noting that Farr served the hall as president longer than anyone else. "We will miss him and his knowledge and wise answers to all questions."