Don and Bob McFarlane

Brothers Don and “Big” Bob McFarlane were two of Western’s leading football players and track athletes. The McFarlanes were raised in London, where they attended Ridley College. The brothers entered UWO’s pre-medical school program and became members of the Delta Upsilon fraternity in 1945. That year, Don joined the Mustangs football team, Bob joined the Colts before switching to the Mustangs in 1946, and both brothers entered the track team. Bob and Don were so committed to both sports that in 1946 they raced in Toronto on a Friday and, having placed first and second respectively in their events, immediately flew to Montreal to contribute to the Mustangs’ victory on the next day. In 1947, Don was Mustangs player #20, while his slightly younger but larger brother was player #39. Don was a versatile footballer with excellent kicking, passing, and running abilities which enabled him to play as a fullback, halfback, and a flying wingman. As a runner, Don attended the 1948 Olympics and the 1950 British Empire Games, and regularly competed successfully in other Canadian and international competitions.


Don McFarlane

Don McFarlane, circa 1950.

Bob McFarlane’s athletic record was at least as impressive. His football prowess earned him praise from coach John Metras and sports journalists. With the guidance of track coach Murray McNie, Bob also became one of Canada’s leading sprinters and relay-runners. He competed in the 1948 Olympics, set three Canadian records in the winter of 1950, won almost all of his races during a European tour the following summer, and twice defeated the famous Jamaican Olympic champion Arthur Wint. Bob also won numerous athletic awards, including:

  • The Lou March Trophy for Canada’s most outstanding athlete in 1950;
  • The John W. Davies Trophy for Canada’s leading track and field athlete in 1947 and 1950;
  • The Norton Crowe Trophy for Canada’s top amateur athlete in 1950; and
  • Western’s Dr. Claude Brown Memorial Trophy in 1950.

Bob McFarlane was also a member of the University Students’ Council executive in 1951, the year he and his brother graduated from medical school. Both McFarlane brothers made outstanding contributions to football and track racing during their years at Western.

Bob McFarlane

Bob McFarlane at the 1948 Olympics.