Blakeney speaks to Kiwanis

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Troy State University Head Football Coach Larry Blakeney visited Greenville to promote Trojan athletics Tuesday afternoon.

Blakeney was the guest speaker during the Greenville Kiwanis Club's weekly meeting at the Greenville YMCA.

"This guy I could definitely talk a lot about," former Auburn University receiver Freddy Weygand said as he introduced Blakeney to those present. "He's meant a great deal to me and to a lot of kids around the southeast."

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Blakeney, a former quarterback and assistant coach for 14nyears at Auburn, has coached the Trojans for the last 12 years.

During his tenure at TSU, Blakeney has found an unprecedented amount of success. He is already the schools longestnserving and winningest head coach with a 102n42n1 record. Also, the Trojans have made the transition from Division II, to Division InAA and now to Division InA.

In 2001, Troy finished 7n4 in its first year of Division InA ball, which included three wins over InA foes. The biggest of the three InA wins was an upset over the Southeastern Conferences Mississippi State. The win marked the firstnever win for the Trojans over a BCSnConference School. Three of TSU's four losses were to national runnernup Nebraska, then No. 15 Maryland and eventual national champion Miami.

Blakeney expressed his delight for the football team's success against high caliber teams.

"We feel like our football program's close," Blakeney said. "We had our best recruiting year this year that we've ever had, but we should have had our best recruiting year. We've been recruiting at a different level and for the last three years we've been recruiting at the 1A level, but suddenly we're lining up and we've got a press box, we've got a stadium, a sponsor and a stadium club."

Last season, the Trojans finished 6n6, but gave fans a glimpse of what was to come with a huge win over Marshall.

"We're trying to get to where we can compete with the best in the country," Blakeney said. "We've certainly exposed ourselves to the best in the country, so we'll know what the best is when we get there. Competitively we've played everybody from can to can't."

Blakeney also spoke highly of Troy State University as his employer.

"Troy State has been a great experience for me," Blakeney said. "I got to raise our girls there in Troy and all three of them got good education from Troy State University."

As for the other sports at Troy State, Blakeney believes they are also headed in the right direction.

"The basketball program has gotten through the toughest time of its transition back in the mid-1990's and now they're on the threshold of going to the national tournament every year," he said. "Our baseball program is in probably the best condition it's been in in a long time and it's getting better," Blakeney said.