For 30 years, Brent McFarlane was a coach for Canada's elite track and field athletes. He got his start at Waterloo as a varsity runner in 1968 competing on two Ontario University Athletics (OUA) championship teams. As a graduate of the kinesiology program, McFarlane (BSc '73) used his knowledge of human strength and speed to support some of our country's fastest runners and hurdlers. He is regarded as a highly scientific coach who works with athletes on every detail of their mechanics and training. He was inducted into the University of Waterloo Athletics Hall of Fame in 2002.
In 1996, he coached the University of Waterloo's nationally unranked women's cross country team to surprise victories at the Ontario Women's Interuniversity Athletic Association (OWIAA) and the Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union (CIAU) championships, achieving Waterloo's first national title in twenty years. That same year, he was named University OWIAA and CIAU Cross Country Coach of the Year, upon which he retired from coaching cross country. In 1991 and 1997 he was named the University of Waterloo Coach of the Year and in 1997, 1998 and 2000, McFarlane was named OWIAA Women's Track and Field Coach of the Year.
McFarlane has coached more than 30 national teams, including four Canadian Olympic teams, serving as head coach for the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.
McFarlane has written more than 500 articles on biomechanics, speed, and strength. His book, The Science of Hurdling and Speed, sold more than 12,000 copies, and in 2002 he published the second edition of The Science of SAC (Speed-Agility-Conditioning).
McFarlane has also served as a volunteer coach locally for more than 38 years with the Kitchener-Waterloo Track and Field Association. Athletes from his training group produced 22 Canadian records, 37 provincial records and 40 national champions. He was honoured in 2004 for his service with the prestigious Waterloo Award. Upon his retirement in 2005, the University of Waterloo established the Brent McFarlane Track and Field Endowment to support athletics.
McFarlane has been fighting Parkinson's disease for 15 years.