Larry Blunt Jr. wins with Midwest team

Published 1:47 am Saturday, March 9, 2019

Larry Blunt Jr. at a game played by the Drake University Bulldogs. — Courtesy Drake Athletic Department

Courtland native helps coach winning Bulldogs of Drake U.

The Bulldogs of Drake University earned a conference championship in men’s basketball on March 2. Contributing to that success was a Southampton High School graduate now working as an assistant coach to the team.

Larry Blunt Jr. (Class of 2001) confirmed that the young men won 73-62 over the Bears of Missouri State in Springfield, Missouri. This victory was savored because it became part of a series of historic wins for DU. This most recent victory was the eighth such win in its history.

“This is the second time in the last 30 years the school has won the conference championship,” said Blunt on Thursday. “The previous time was in 2007-2008. The very first time was in 1934 — Drake goes back 100 years.”

Larry Blunt Jr., an assistant coach for the Drake University men’s basketball team, shakes hand with opponents after a game. — Courtesy Drake University Athletic Department

The Courtland native has enjoyed his own successes in athletics, having played on SHS football teams that won two regional championships. (“The glory years,” as he called them.) He also played varsity basketball for two years, and then at Elizabeth City State University and James Madison University. His degree is in public administration with a concentration in political science.

Professional experience in coaching took place for JMU’s football team, and later at places such as Hampden-Sydney, Shaw University and Toronto, the latter of which he began a prep school.

Before Des Moines, Blunt was at Canisus in Buffalo, New York. The Division I basketball team had earned conference championship in his second year.

Asked to recall the most recent Bulldog triumph, Blunt said, “For all of us, there was excitement. We had lost our starting point guard in the first conference game, but we had to persevere. The team rallied around him.”

On Friday, the Bulldogs were scheduled to play the Redbirds of Illinois State in St. Louis, Missouri.

Blunt added, “We play the conference tournament to represent in the NCAA tournament this month.”

There’s always something to do when it comes to basketball.

“Recruitment is ongoing,” he said. “Visiting high schools across the world. Finding 13 guys to find what we want to accomplish on and off the court.”

When a tornado struck the area, the team went to help with cleaning up.

“We spent a day cleaning houses, moving trees hit by the tornado. It was heart-warming to see,” said Blunt. “We were well received from the people we helped.”

The husband of Morgan Blunt, who he married last May, he’s also the son of Larry and MeChelle Blunt of Courtland; his sister is LaChelle.

Though Blunt is far from his birthplace, he’s found another home in the Midwest.

“I grew up in Courtland. Right on 616,” said the former Boy Scout and member of First Baptist Church. “Des Moines is similar to Southampton. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it,” Blunt said. “It has that Smalltown USA feel. People have time for you and they genuinely have your best interests at heart.”