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|McFarland earns athletic honors|
Anthony "Booger" McFarland moved a step closer to legendary fame Tuesday night when he was inducted into the Louisiana State University Athletic Hall of Fame.
Although McFarland is well known locally for his football talent and personal outreach to Franklin Parish school children, his latest honor is another step in a long journey to recognition. He already had gained All-America and Most Valuable Player awards before becoming a first round draft pick and enjoying a successful professional career.
McFarland said, "it is such an honor to be mentioned among these great athletes at LSU.
When I started playing football here, this is something I would have never imagined."
McFarland did not go through life having everything handed to him. Growing up in Winnsboro, he learned at a young age that he had to work very diligently to accomplish his dreams.
"Growing up in a small town, I knew that nothing would be handed to me. I had to work for everything, and I appreciate everything that I have achieved because of it," said McFarland.
After receiving all-state honors and many other awards while at Winnsboro High School, McFarland began his successful tenure at LSU as a defensive lineman. He started as a true freshman in 1995, played all four years and made memories that would last him a life time.
"I will never forget what happened on October 11, 1997. LSU beat the No. 1 ranked Florida Gators. It was the first time I had ever seen 100,000 people in one place and the true spirit of college football," he said.
McFarland was a part of something special at LSU. He helped rebuild the LSU football program and lay the foundation for the years to come.
"We turned the program around. Our team went from six losing seasons to winning again. Here we are 15 years later and the program is going strong and LSU is still winning," said McFarland.
McFarland had plenty of success at LSU and as a professional athlete, but he measures success in more of an intangible way.
"I like to measure success according to work ethic. It is the most important thing an athlete can possess," he stated.
This trait of having a strong work ethic is what separates McFarland from other athletes. Former LSU football coach Gerry DiNardo said, "I have never seen anyone with more will power than this man has. He wasn't the fastest, strongest, or biggest person I had on that field, but he worked hard and I respect that more than anything."
McFarland's strong will wasn't limited to the football field. "Graduating in 1999 was a huge moment in my life," said McFarland. "Coming from a small town, I just never imagined the day would come when I could walk across the stage with a diploma in my hand."
Graduating helped prove to McFarland that LSU is so much more than athletics. "It's an institution for academic growth, and I thank Coach (DiNardo) for helping me realize that," he said.
"Before coming to LSU, I would have never imagined the things that I accomplished here. At LSU I learned that a person can never set the bar too high."
McFarland has given back to the community in numerous ways. He has worked with the Kids Wish Network, Shriners Hospital's Holiday of Hope, Children's Week and SWAT (Students Working Against Tobacco).However, working with charities is not all McFarland wanted to do. He created his own organization entitled "Booger's Bucs Can Wait".
This is a program to educate kids about making good decisions on issues such as smoking, drinking, using drugs and relationships.
The program was introduced by McFarland in 2002 and each year he makes presentations to schools regarding these issues.
"I wanted to make sure that I was known for something other than just playing football. Life is not about the material things in this world. I wanted to make sure that I leave something of value behind," said McFarland.
It is obvious that McFarland has been very successful, but he stresses that it is the intangibles that separate good athletes from great athletes.
"I believe that work ethic, heart and a strong will have made me the person that I am today," he said. "It is the things you can't see that are the keys to success."