Honoring Larry Blakeney for His Exceptional Contribution to Alabama Athleticsby Representative Martha Roby
Posted on 2015-01-12
in the house of representatives
Monday, January 12, 2015
Mrs. ROBY. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor Mr. Larry Blakeney, an
exceptional Alabamian who has made an enormous contribution to
athletics and the development of young people in my state.
Coach Blakeney is best known as the head coach of the Troy University Trojan football [[Page E49]] team, a position he held for 24 years, retiring this past December. During that time, Coach Blakeney built a little-known Southeast Alabama team into a conference powerhouse and a nationally-competitive program. His remarkable career at Troy has included six 10-win seasons, five Sunbelt Conference championships, and 178 wins--a total that places him among the top three Alabama college coaches, behind the legendary Paul ``Bear'' Bryant and just ahead of his mentor and winningest Auburn coach Ralph ``Shug'' Jordan.
Among the defining characteristics of Larry Blakeney-coached teams was the fearless attitude they took into competition. ``Any team, anytime, anywhere'' was Troy's motto, never phased or intimidated by traditional college football powers. And the Trojans would not just compete against the best, they would win. Simply put, Larry Blakeney has personified Troy Football, so much so that the field on which the Trojans play bears his name.
Larry Blakeney's impact on the game of football in Alabama started as a player in high school, when he led the Gordo Green Wave to a record of 24-2-2 and three-straight Warrior Conference championships. He enrolled at Auburn University, where he became the first sophomore to start at quarterback under Coach Ralph ``Shug'' Jordan, a distinction that even Auburn Heisman winner Pat Sullivan does not share.
Blakeney began his coaching career in the high school ranks, first at Southern Academy, then Walker High School and Vestavia Hills High School. He was then hired at his beloved alma mater, Auburn, where he served as an assistant coach for 14 seasons. Auburn would experience one of its most successful runs ever with Coach Blakeney calling plays, including three-straight SEC championships in 1987, 1988 and 1989. Coach Blakeney's success and championship drive made him the perfect choice to lead Troy's burgeoning football program beginning in 1991.
His success on the gridiron has led to many accolades, including multiple ``Coach of the Year'' honors and placement in the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. However, Coach Blakeney's impact goes far beyond the playing field.
From Gordo to Auburn to Troy, he has maintained close, warm relationships with his teammates, fellow coaches, and players. The Auburn Creed, which outlines how Auburn men and women are supposed to live, emphasizes ``the human touch,'' which cultivates love, understanding and sympathy with your fellow man. Larry Blakeney personifies and embodies that ``human touch'' to a great and rare degree.
Hundreds and perhaps thousands of once-young men are, today, better husbands, fathers, and citizens because of the positive influence of Coach Blakeney; a good man who used the game of football to teach integrity, character, and perseverance throughout his entire career.
Mr. Speaker, it is my privilege to acknowledge Coach Blakeney's positive impact on young people in Alabama, to celebrate his remarkable career, and to honor his place among the greatest college football coaches to walk the sidelines in my state.