Larry Allison decided it was time to pass the torch.
“It’s time for some new blood and for somebody else to get in there (and take over the program),” he said.
Allison, head baseball coach at George Rogers Clark for the past 14 seasons, retired earlier this week. Allison guided the Cardinals to the state tournament for the first time in school history in June and won four regional titles (2002-03, 2007 and 2011) and six district titles. During his tenure at Clark, Allison compiled an impressive 346-157 record and reached the regional tournament in 13 of his 14 seasons at the helm. Clark failed to reached he regional tournament in 2001 when the Cards lost to Estill County in the opening round of the 40th District Tournament. Since then, Clark has been a regular participant in the regional tournament.
Allison said his former players and members of the coaching staff deserve credit for the team’s success under his watch.
“I don’t want this to be about me,” he said. “I want it to be about the players. We went out there and played hard for 14 years and I enjoyed my relationship with the kids. We won almost 350 games in those 14 years and that (record) speaks for itself as far as the talent level in Clark County. I told somebody the other day, the only home runs I recognize are (the ones) 10 years down the road and I see (the players) are as successful as they were when they played for me. That’s what it’s all about and that’s what coaching is all about.”
Allison said the move will allow the next coach to spend more time with the team during preseason practice, which begins on Feb. 15. Allison serves as an assistant coach on the boys basketball team and will continue to serve in that capacity this season.
“They need a coach who is going to be able to put in the time necessary to help young kids,” he said. “I get to keep an assistant's job, versus a coaching job. It gives me a chance to stay close to the kids.¿As an assistant coach, you get to coach. As a head coach, you’ve got to fight the battle for the kids and things like that. As an assistant coach, it gives me a chance to teach, which is what attracted me to the profession any way. I’ve been (coaching) for 43 years and I want to stick with that.”
Under his watch, several upgrades have been made at Cardinal Field and the outfield fences were expanded.¿Allison credited the program’s booster organization and others, including the late Ernie Evans, for upgrades to the field.
“We built on to the dugout and put a dressing room in out there,” he said. “We added an equipment shed, a grasshopper (mower), we put in a sprinkler system, sodded the infield, added lights and a golf cart,” he said. “We added the new concession stand and everything.”
As for his replacement, Allison ruled out the possibility of his assistant coaches Rich Barker, Wally Price or Darren Snell taking over the reigns. Price served under Allison for all 14 seasons, while Barker came on board and stayed for 13 years. Snell served as an assistant coach for the past three seasons.
“It was an outstanding coaching staff and those guys deserve the credit,” he said. “Everything (was coordinated together). I think it works out well for us to get out at the same time. I’d be tickled to death for any one of them to take it.¿We all discussed it and I don’t think (they’ll do it).”