Troy University was well represented at this year’s Wiregrass Sports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. Head football coach Larry Blakeney, head basketball coach Don Maestri and assistant football coach Randy Butler were three of the inductees.
Maestri, who has coached the Trojans for the past 26 years, said it was particularly special to be inducted with Blakeney.
“We had a lot of fun being there together,” the basketball coach said. “There’s so many things that go beyond the winning and losing. Larry Blakeney is such a people person.
“He has a gift that I always thought Chase Riddle had. He could talk to someone and that person thought he was the only person in the world that he could be talking to. He always made that person feel important. He still does that. He’s still a people person coach; not just for his players or his coaches, but everybody.”
Blakeney, preparing for his 18th season at TROY, said his relationship with Maestri is special.
“I feel like I grew up with him almost,” Blakeney said. “He was here when I got here. He’s always sort of been there for me — and, hopefully, I have been there for him. We’ve always tried to cheer each other in success and console each other in defeat.
“So he’s always been a part of everything. It’s not that his program was the only program. He never gave anybody that feeling. That’s one of his biggest strengths. He really enjoys other people’s successes and encourages them and supports them.”
Blakeney didn’t know Butler was in the Hall of Fame class when he hired him this spring.
“Randy Butler certainly is going to be a big bonus to us,” Blakeney said of the longtime Southern Mississippi assistant from Hartford. “He’s as good a coach as we could ever have hoped to hire.”
In addition to the three current Trojan coaches, there were three others in the 2008 Hall of Fame class with strong TROY ties.
Gene Dews, who serves as softball coach at Athletics Director at Wallace Community College in Dothan, attended TROY and worked as an assistant coach for legendary TROY baseball coach Chase Riddle.
Yolanda Terry, a native of Daleville, played the final two years of her college basketball career at TROY, and Leon Davis, who is the retired basketball coach and Director of Athletics at Montevallo, also attended TROY.