Edson: Remembering A Legend – Larry Glass
The great Larry Glass was a father figure to me.
Larry passed away earlier this week at the age of 84 and right up until he left us, he was revered by the northern Michigan coaching community and the athletes who played for him.
It wasn’t just the winning all of his Leland girls basketball teams did – three Class D state championships in a row and a winning streak of 67 games – but it was the way he went about it.
“No one taught fundamentals like Larry,” said fellow Hall of Fame coach Jim Anderson, who worked camps with Larry during the summers and coached against him during the falls. “I don’t care if it’s basketball, music or whatever your passion is, Larry taught his players to be great – not good – but great at fundamentals. He figured if you did that, success would follow.”
Anderson’s Traverse City Central team snapped Leland’s 67-game winning streak one night during the early 1980s in the Trojan gym. Most coaches would have been happy to knock off the Comets. Anderson was happy… but not really.
“That win still haunts me,” he said. “I know it sounds funny to say that, but Larry was one of my best friends. And if they had beaten us that night, that had a shot at a national consecutive winning streak record. So as much as I was happy for our girls, I felt kind of empty inside afterwards.”
It’s the same sad feeling I had on Monday when I found out he has passed.
We played a lot of golf together over the years and I never beat him once. I came close one time on the back nine of his home course – the Leland Country Club. I broke 40 for one of the few times in my life, finishing with a 39. He shot 38.
“Why don’t you let me beat you just once?” I kidded him.
“Well, you earned it today, but I don’t like to lose to anyone,” he said with a smile.
Larry loved his family – his wife Dee, his kids and his grandkids. And he was as loyal a friend as anyone could ask for.
Many years ago Larry and his Leland team were heading to a regional championship game. I was going to cover it for the Record-Eagle.
But we got a phone call from the doctor’s office just before I was going to leave, telling my wife that she had been diagnosed with MS.
So naturally I called my assistant sports editor Denny Chase and asked him to cover the game for me, while I stayed home.
When Denny got to the game, Larry asked where I was. Denny told him about my wife’s diagnosis.
Denny told me that Larry was shaken by the news. Leland went on to win the game, but Denny said after the game, Larry was standing at the end of the court looking glum.
“What’s the matter?” Denny asked.
“I can’t stop thinking about Nick and Lois,” he said, shaking his head.
That’s the kind of loyal friend Larry was.
He was dedicated to everyone he trusted, from his students to his players to his friends and family.
I will miss my friend and my father figure… his love for the game of basketball and for his family.
But I will always remember his legacy – hard work, fundamentals and having fun with the people you love.
Nick Edson is a retired Hall of Fame columnist and sportswriter. He worked 25 years at the Traverse City Record-Eagle, 18 as sports editor. He is a two-time president of the Associated Press Sports Editors Association and a member of the Michigan Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame.