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The Ultimate Player’s Coach, Larry Blunt Places Best Interest Of The Players Above Everything Else

Larry Blunt | Assistant Coach | Oklahoma State University


Larry Blunt

Assistant Coach

Oklahoma State University

× The interview with Larry Blunt was conducted via a typed conversation. Editing changes were made to make it easier to read while maintaining the voice of the interview.

Tell us about your role as the Assistant Coach for Oklahoma State University and what does a typical day look like for you?

My role is to do everything in my power to assist our head coach in any way possible. 

In addition, I try to serve our players and help them reach their potential both on and off the court. 

As a staff, we split up the scouting responsibilities, and work as a group to identify, and attract the best student-athletes possible that will represent our University. 

Our jobs as assistants are ever-changing, and there is no task too big or too small. 

But at the end of the day, it is about using the game of basketball to transform the lives of young people.   

What is your favorite part about coaching?

Serving, and using our game to enhance the lives of young people! 

Seeing the growth of young people both on and off the court is my favorite part of coaching!

You went to Canada to coach in Oshawa with the Power in the NBL Canada and then Orangeville Prep. What led you to go north of the border to coach and what was that experience like?

The Good Lord works in mysterious ways, and I was blessed with the privilege of coaching the Oshawa Power. For me, the opportunity to be a head coach was what attracted me to the National Basketball League of Canada.

Little did I know, I ended up meeting my wife, helped start a prep school, and was blessed to be a part of the journey of 30 Division One student-athletes, and six NBA players.

I would not be where I am not without the generosity and kindness of so many Canadians. I am forever grateful!

How was it like to coach at the high school level at Orangeville Prep and what was it like coaching future NBA talent like Jamal Murray and Thon Maker as well as notable Canadian professionals like Kyle Alexander and Kalif Young?

As I mentioned above, I am incredibly humbled. 

I say it all the time, I would not be in my current position without them taking a chance on our program, and giving our staff the privilege of coaching them! I hope that I was able to give them things that they will carry with them both on and off the court!  

Most importantly the type of people that they all are has been a major takeaway.

Most people know about their basketball success, but I can say without reservation, that they are even better human beings and men!

Obviously, you’re back in the US now, but from the outside looking in, how have you seen the game grow in Canada?

The growth of the game is unreal.

I can speak to my first year coaching the Oshawa Power.  When the season ended, and the NCAA tournament started, there was no way to be able to watch the games. 

Fast forward, now most Canadian cable and satellite companies show the entire tournament. Also, it is cool to see the growth of the professional leagues, and the infrastructure at the high school and grassroots, and even Canadian College and University level continues to grow at an incredible rate.

So excited that so many families and young people are able to benefit from this game that we all love! 

Having coached so many players in your career, including some notable ones such as the ones aforementioned, what do you think are the three differences that separate the great athletes from the good athletes?

I think if I had to limit it to three things I would say:

  1. Competitiveness – The great ones work, and want to win in any and everything they do.  Whether it’s in the classroom, on the court, or even in video games, they have an unrelenting fire that just makes them enjoy competition. 
  2. Drive (Work Ethic) – Most people love what the game can do for them, but have no idea how much work goes into them taking the next steps. There is a saying that goes, the harder you work, the luckier you get!
  3. Knowledge – Our game continues to evolve, and the great ones are willing to continue seeking ideas of the past, present, and future of our game. They never tire of continuing to, not only refine what they have, but always seek out new innovative ways and ideas that can take their game to the next level. 

What are the three biggest differences between coaching at the college level and the prep level?

I think the biggest difference is when I was the head coach at Orangeville I could lose every game, but as long as we got all of our student-athletes to the next level, we had success.

At this level, there is much greater pressure that is placed on winning. I have been fortunate to work with great bosses, that have balance and always keep what is in the best interest of the student at the forefront, but that is not always the case at the College/University level.  

Secondly, the pressure at the level is significantly different. The fan bases, are extremely passionate, and most want success right away.  The Cowboy fan base is amazing, and I am grateful to be a part of it.  Being at a place that has had success shows that it can be done, and it is our desire to continue to add to the already rich tradition and track record of success

Thirdly, I’d say our resources. Our staff is bigger, our travel budget is bigger, and we are blessed to be in a position where the student-athletes will have an experience that they will never forget. 

At Orangeville, our players had an incredible experience, and thanks to the generosity of The Tipping family, Nike, and a few generous sponsors, our guys were fortunate to have an experience that they will never forget. In fact, most guys had better resources at AI, than what they had or will have at their respective Colleges or Universities.   

What is your biggest advice for aspiring coaches out there?

First — IT’S ALWAYS WHAT’S IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE YOUNG PEOPLE! This is always number 1A for me.

Secondly, continue to learn the craft.  The more proficient you are, the better you will be equipped to serve young people.  

Lastly, do what you say you are going to do when you say you are going to do it. You have to understand that the reality is, there are more qualified individuals than there are jobs.  

You need more friends than enemies. You can have 99 people singling your praises. But the single enemy you created can be the person that prevents you from getting your dream opportunity. 

Michael Anthony Cruz Michael's Final Thoughts

Coach Larry Blunt is the very definition of a player’s coach. It is hard to match the passion that Oklahoma State University Assistant has for his job. Born and raised in Virginia, Coach Larry shared how a head coaching opportunity north of the border in 2012 changed his life for the better. A year later, he helped start one of the best high school programs in Canada, Orangeville Prep. In his three years at the Mono, Ontario-based school, Coach Larry mentored 30 NCAA D-1 athletes, as well as future NBA talents like Jamal Murray and Thon Maker. Current players should take the long-time coach’s word for what separates a great athlete from a good one, while aspiring coaches should heed the valuable advice he offered.

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