Troy Announces Retirement of Blakeney at End of Season

October 6, 2014 · By · Filed Under Football, NCAA, News, Sun Belt Conference 
Larry Blakeney at a press conference in Troy earlier this year. | Photo: wn.com

Larry Blakeney at a press conference in Troy earlier this year. | Photo: wn.com

Longtime Troy head coach Larry Blakeney is set to announce his retirement at the end of the season in a press conference on Monday. He informed his team after their Sunday practice.

Blakeney is the second-longest tenured active coach in the FBS ranks only behind Frank Beamer. He had seven playoff appearances in eight seasons as an FCS coach, including an undefeated regular season in 1995, with three wins over BCS teams. He won eight conference championships including five straight Sun Belt titles from 2006-2010. He has an overall record of 175-109-1.

But after the 2010 season there are different numbers that describe his team. Since 2010 he has not had a winning season and is 14-27 and 0-5 start this year, the first 0-5 start since the 1982 season for Troy, which includes a loss to FCS Abilene Christian, and an FPI ranking of 125th in the country.

Blakeney coached high school teams after graduating from Auburn and spent over a decade on the plains as an assistant. He arrived in 1990 to be the head coach at Troy as they were preparing to move up from Division II to FCS.

In 2001 Troy again moved up, this time to FBS and knocked off Mississippi State that fall to formally announce their arrival.

Three years later was arguably the pinnacle of Blakeney’s career. Troy hosted the #17 ranked Missouri Tigers at Veterans Memoral Stadium for a Thursday night ESPN2 game in 2004. They would knock off the Tigers 24-14 in front of the largest crowd in Troy history.

“We don’t have to beat them 365 days,” he told the Associated Press after the game. “We just have to beat them for one 60-minute segment of history. For that one 60 minutes, Troy was better than Missouri.”

In 2007 they stunned Oklahoma State in Troy. His program produced NFL stars DeMarcus Ware, Osi Umenyiora, Jerrel Jernigan, Leodis McKelvin, Cameron Sheffield, Sherrod Martin, Levi Brown and Jonathan Massaquoi. He was awarded the Sun Belt Conference 10th Anniversary Most Outstanding Head Coach award.

But after the 2010 season things began to fall apart. In 2011 the Trojans wen 3-9 and have not been above .500 since.

South Alabama is 0-2 against Blakeney at Troy with a narrow, last second loss last season in Troy after a big comeback by the Jaguars to take the lead with under a minute remaining in the game.

Prior to the 2012 season, Blakeney took exception to South Alabama’s unclassified status in 2009 and 2010 which allowed student-athletes to be recruited and play all five seasons of their eligibility years instead of having to be redshirted one of the five seasons.

This article last week on Underdog Dynasty points out some of the parallels between Blakeney and Bobby Bowden, which is eerily true. Now they have the answer to the question posed in the article about how Blakeney’s exit could come about. Retirement.

The other question posed is: who’s next?

Pete Roussel has compiled a list of probably candidates that Troy Athletics Director John Hartwell may consider for the position. Frank Wilson, running backs / recruiting coordinator / associate head coach LSU. Eddie Gran, offensive coordinator at Cincinnati. Previously coached under Tommy Tuberville at Ole Miss and Auburn. Mike Bobo, offensive coordinator at Georgia.

Tommie Robinson, running backs coach at Texas. He played on the 1984 national championship team at Troy, grew up in Alabama and has served under coaches: Les Miles, Chan Gailey (Dallas Cowboys and Georgia Tech), Tommy West, Randy Shannon, Ken Whisenhunt (Arizone Cardinals), Lane Kiffin (USC), Ed Orgeron (USC) and Charlie Strong (Texas, current).

According to Roussel you may also see these two emerge as candidates as well: Geoff Collins, defensive coordinator at Mississippi State; or Neal Brown, offensive coordinator at Kentucky.

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