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Coaches’ connection

With the college football season drawing to a close, now is the time where the carousel of coaching changes begins to spin.

Head coaching changes have already been made at Louisville, Notre Dame and Florida State, just to name a few.

Georgia recently fired three defensive assistants, furthering the annual coaching shakeup.

However, here at Troy, the coaching carousel has rarely reared its ugly head.

Larry Blakeney is one bowl game away from wrapping up his 19th season as the head football coach at Troy, and there are no indications he has plans of stepping away anytime soon.

Over that span, Troy has grown from a Division II program to a former Division I-AA program, and now, a full-fledged Division I athletic program.

Blakeney has been here through it all, guiding Troy to 14 winning seasons, seven conference titles and 153 wins in all.

More importantly, however, Troy has made the jump from a small-time Division II program to a program that produces players who compete at the highest level.

You have to think the sense of continuity provided by Blakeney’s presence has been a help to Troy as it has risen through the ranks.

But, the continuity at Troy isn’t limited to just football.

Men’s basketball coach Don Maestri is currently in his 28th season at Troy, the fourth-longest tenure of any current Division I head coach.

Troy has experienced success during Maestri’s term, with 17 winning seasons, six conference titles and six postseason appearances.

Maestri has also brought home eight Coach of the Year awards from different organizations, all the while amassing 459 wins and 330 losses.

Much like Blakeney, Maestri was at Troy back in the Division II days, and has been a constant as Troy has moved from Division II to Division I’s Atlantic Sun conference, and now into the Sun Belt.

Troy enjoyed its best season since joining the Sun Belt last season, and with a new basketball facility in the works, appears to be ready to take even more steps forward.

So, while the folks in South Bend, Ind., will spend the next few weeks speculating over who will lead their program into its next period of glory days, be appreciative of the fact that Troy’s two major programs are led by men who know exactly how to take a program forward.

Nick Duke a the sports writer for The Messenger and he can be reached at nick.duke@Troymessenger.com or on Twitter at Messenger_Nick.