Blakeney gives thanks for family, team

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 25, 2009

From wall to wall, his office is filled with memories.

Awards and trophies won, autographed pictures by former players and colleges and at least 20 pictures of his ever growing family surrounding the Palladium Trophy.

He has the school-record for career victories with 152 as well as guiding the Troy to 13 winning seasons in his 19 years as head coach.

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He has seen success on every level of college football, starting in Division II all the way up to Division I.

He is the longest tenured coach in Troy history and was just recently was a a part of the 2009 class being elected into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame.

Yes, Troy head coach Larry Blakeney has a lot to be thankful, and he would be the first one to tell you.

“I have been tremendously blessed to work with great people who truly care about what they are doing,” Blakeney said.

“I have been able to have some success throughout my career, thanks to the good Lord.

“And now we find ourselves in the position to go to another bowl game, which we are all extremely grateful for,” he added.

However, despite all the records and accomplishments, there are things that mean more to the coach.

“It’s the little things in life, the things you don’t think about that are really important.

“The fact that I have a beautiful family, that is healthy means the absolute world to me – this is probably what I am most grateful for,” he said.

After graduating from Gordo High School in 1965, Blakeney got his first coaching job at Southern Academy back in the fall of 1970.

He has been coaching ever since, only because of the people that have been a part of his life, according to Blakeney.

“The credit for everything goes in so many places.

“I was raised by two hard working parents who furnished an opportunity for me to achieve success. I was lucky enough to be blessed by the good Lord to be put in this business, and I have been blessed to have amazing coaches and players all throughout my career,” he said.

Along his coaching journey, he said he has been teaching his player to have the same values as himself.

“I have always tried to preach thankfulness to my players,” Blakeney said.

“Of course, there are going to be some ups and downs and some players will make mistakes but I always try my best to teach the kids the difference between right and wrong.”

And now, just two days before the Trojans head to Lafayette, La. looking to become the first Sun Belt team to go undefeated in conference play, the entire team, will take a break from football to give thanks.

Since the early 1990s, Blakeney and the Trojan football team has had their own Thanksgiving tradition.

All the coaches, trainers and players along with any family members who can make the trip, celebrate the holiday together.

“It’s always been something we try to do when we have the opportunity to do so,” Blakeney said.

“We usually have somewhere around 140 people all crammed into the dining hall. “It’s a pretty special thing to be able to do – and a pretty good feast,” the coach laughed.