Blakeney reflects on favorite memories of career ahead of season finale
Published 3:00 am Saturday, November 29, 2014
Larry Blakeney insists he hasn’t thought much this week about the end of his coaching career Saturday.
During the heat of battle in his and the Trojans’ final game of the season against UL-Lafayette at Veterans Memorial Stadium, the longtime Trojan head coach said he would be all business.
“It hadn’t hit me yet.”
But when the final whistle blows, the clock hits all zeroes and the band starts to play, there may not be a dry eye in the stadium.
“There are so many good things that have taken place over the years, personally and professionally for me at this place,” Blakeney said Monday at his weekly press conference. “I could sit here all afternoon. Things that are positive about how (Blakeney’s wife) Janice and I and our girls have been treated.”
In his 24 years, Blakeney said he has almost too many good memories to remember.
Maybe it’s the win over No. 17 Missouri in 2004 or the beat down they handed Oklahoma State three years later.
But for Blakeney, the one aspect of his coaching career that he has cherished all of these years is undoubtedly the relationships.
“You got your relationships, man.” Blakeney said. “My whole career has been based on relationships. A lot of relationships over a 45-year career. My philosophy has always been the same. It’s those relationships and how you start them, how you nurture them. That’s what the whole deal has been about for me.”
And Blakeney still nurtures many of the relationships he has built throughout his coaching career. From former players, to former and present coaches, he said he hopes to see a number of different faces Saturday when he takes the field one last time.
“I know most of my guys will be here I think,” Blakeney said. “I’ve even had calls from some of the guys on my first high school team that are coming.”
And as Blakeney coaches for the last time on the very field that was named for him, he still looks forward to the future. Though he won’t remain in charge, he looks to provide outreach and assistance to anyone who needs him — including the next coach of the Trojans.
“It’s been good. I want to be positive,” Blakeney said. “I want to be a friend – or whatever the next coach needs – I want to be that. If they need something, I’ll try to get it.”
With 178 career wins at the helm of the Trojans, Blakeney, who already passed Auburn coach Shug Jordan earlier this season with the third most wins all-time in the state of Alabama, will look to finish off at 179 with a win against the Cajuns.
And should the Trojans finish the season in storybook fashion, handing Blakeney one more win for the record books, the head coach will get to get sing with the band one more time.
When asked what he’ll miss the most about game days, his answer was quick and to the point.
“That fight song after we beat somebody.”