By Joe Gisondi
There was a time last summer when Julian Larry thought his coaching career might be over.
Entering his fourth year as assistant men’s basketball coach at Lake Land, Larry was working at night for a cleaning service to supplement his coaching salary.
It’s not easy trying to make it as a coach.
So Larry, who has also served as an academic advisor, intramural sports director and director of retention, applied for several higher education jobs. He received four offers before ultimately turning them all down.
Leaving coaching is also not easy.
Instead, Larry returned to serve with Brandon Colvin, his longtime mentor and friend. The two had also coached together for two years at Dakota College in Bottineau, North Dakota.
“This is what it’s all about,” Larry said. “This has been a dream of mine since high school. The hard work has finally paid off.”
Larry takes over a team that struggled this past season, allowing 85.6 points per game and 100 total points nine times in finishing 9-23. The team lost nine games in a row during a midseason stretch but rallied to split its final eight games.
“My approach to the game is hard work and discipline,” Larry said. “Those are the two keys to a successful team. I want to outwork everybody.”
Larry says he learned a great deal from Colvin, especially patience. “I’m a loud person already. I’m very passionate about the game.”
Said Colvin: “I am happy for Julian. It is well-deserved. I believe he will do a great job for Lake Land. He has been working towards a head job his whole career.”
Larry says he decided to remain because he loves working with players on and off the court. “I want to help them become better men. That’s what I like best of all – seeing players coming from practically nothing and improving as people, not just as athletes.”
Guard Adam Price says Larry helped him develop into a player who was named to the NJCAA Region 24 team after averaging 15.5 points, 3.5 assists and 2.4 rebounds a game this past season. Price also converted 89.7 percent of his shots from the free-throw line, third best in the nation.
“Larry taught me that if you work hard enough, your game will show results,” Price said. “We got in the gym countless times at 6 a.m. even on game days, and he put me through drills and situations I would see in the game. It took me to another level of scoring because I was practicing with him so much. And by the time the opportunity came in the game, it was second nature. He helped me develop a true work ethic and love for the game.”
Lake Land tips off next season with a tournament in Vincennes on Oct. 11.