Few high school coaches in the state are respected as much as Bountiful football coach Larry Wall — he has the Braves' football field named after him. Not only has he won four state championships and is the second winningest active coach in the state with a 184-88 record, he's also well-regarded for how he treats his players. Deseret News reporter Andrew Aragon caught up with Wall — now in his 25th season as a head coach — earlier this week, prior to Bountiful's 30-9 win over Lone Peak on Friday.
Question: Are you ready for another season?
Answer: We're getting ready. Every year at this stage of the game you really don't know if you're going to be real good or average. We're trying to get everything in. I know our kids have worked hard and they'll play hard (on Friday). I think they're ready to play as far as they're tired of hitting each other type of thing. We need to see another opponent.
Question: What made you want to go into coaching?
Answer: I've had some great role models as coaches coming up through that I played for in high school. I played on a state championship team (at Viewmont) and my high school coach was Steve Dangerfield, who I later had the honor of coaching with. All those days as a young man my coaches were what I wanted to be. Those guys were pretty neat. They were good examples for me. I think that's where it started at. I went to the U. and it was the same type of thing. My coaches were a big part of my life. They shaped what I wanted to do.
Question: Do you have a favorite memory or memories from you coaching career?
A: That's a hard one. When you've been in it this long, some of my favorite memories are seeing kids after and what they shape up to be, what they accomplish, what kind of people they turn into. That's really satisfying for me as a coach to look and say look at that guy he's a lawyer right now or that guy's playing at the U. now and he's a captain or look at that guy he's got a great family. That's probably my favorite part of it. We've had a number of state championships and that's great, too, but I think when a kid comes back and hands you to an invite to his wedding or to a missionary farewell or graduation that's pretty cool. The kids have done a good job.
Question: What's your favorite part of coaching?
Answer: I think it's just that interaction. I think we get into coaching a little bit — I know I did — because there comes a time when you can't play anymore. That's all you've done growing up. You're so engrossed in the game, and it's been such a big part of your life I think for a lot of us that's just the natural next step. You can't play anymore. I think you get a little bit of that that's a way you can compete. That's a way to get your adrenaline going.
Question: You've won state championships and had guys go on to college. What else do you hope to accomplish in your coaching career?
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Answer: We want to treat people right and we want to treat kids right and we want it to be a great experience in their life. I don't think it's all about championships. We've been fortunate to have a few (championships) here and that's great. I think it takes a little pressure off. There's a lot of great coaches in the state that have coached as long as I have that haven't won one, let alone four or five or whatever. It takes the monkey off your back and you can just settle in. As long as it's fun and you think you can have an impact on kids and do the right things and do it the right way it's still an option, I guess.