Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Blakeney Is One Of The Good Guys

If you ever meet Troy Head Coach Larry Blakeney you’ll never forget it. I never have. Blakeney is one of the good guys of college football. As an undergraduate covering my first story for the Auburn Plainsman I visited with Blakney while he was an assistant at Auburn to talk about the 1989 season.

Walking into his office as nervous as a kid on a prom date he immediately made me feel at home. Blakeney’s one of these people who once you meet him you feel like you’ve known him all your life. You know the type.

Perhaps that’s what has made Blakeney such a success over his 14 years as head coach at Troy. Has it been fourteen years? Has it been that long since he was part of the most incredible runs in Auburn football history?

He’s led the Trojans at three levels – from division II up to I-AA and finally into the big time as a I-A coach. Last year Troy posted a 7-5 record and its first ever bowl appearance. Along the way Blakeney has seen numerous milestones including wins over Mississippi State, Missouri and a near win at LSU.

The comment I hear most when Blakeney’s name is mentioned is what might have been. You know the story by now. He was caught up in the Eric Ramsey case and was heard on tape uttering those now famous words to Ramsey, “keep it down home cuz”.

If you’ve ever spent any time with Blakeney you know he deeply cares about people. I have no doubt that he was simply trying to help out a guy who said he needed food and money for his family. Was it wrong? Absolutely. But anyone who knows Blakeney will tell you his heart is as big as Texas.

Blakeney has paid the price. He’s redeemed himself. Pat Dye is going into the College Football Hall of Fame this December. The stadium is being named after him.

Larry Blakeney’s career goes on. He deserves a shot at a top flight Division I school. He has taken a program at Troy that was nothing and made it into a school that all the big boys fear playing on homecoming. For that and many more reasons Larry Blakeney deserves his shot. Let’s hope he gets it.

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