Coach Larry Lagemann Hangs Up The Whistle
Lagemann Says Time Is Right After 300+ Wins In 22-Year Career
Lagemann is just retiring from coaching duties for the Clopton Lady Hawks basketball team, he will continue to serve as the high school principal.
“I’ve been very lucky. I’ve had some great teams,” Lagemann noted. “You don’t always measure success by wins and losses, but I’ve been very fortunate.”
Lagemann retires with a total record of 309-188. He was the boy’s head coach at Clopton from 1997 until 2006. He said he was known as “Mr. 99” for a while because he seemed to get stuck on that number. He left the coaching position in 2006 when he became the high school principal. His record with the boy’s team was 99-137.
“I always wanted to be a boy’s head coach. And I really enjoyed it.”
Lagemann noted that he came to the Clopton School District in 1995 and spent two years as the assistant coach for Ed Lindsay’s storied Lady Hawks program. He added that it was a pleasure to serve alongside him as the boy’s coach as well.
“When I got the principal’s job, I thought I was done with coaching, but I came back in 2008.”
Bobby Spoonster had taken over the girl’s basketball program and announced he was leaving in 2008. Lagemann noted the district needed a coach but didn’t really have a teaching position to offer along with the coaching duties.
“I was approached by several people to see if I would take over the program.”
He pointed out there have been difficult times juggling administrative duties, coaching duties and a family life at home.
“I’ve always had good assistant coaches, superintendents, secretary. They have always been willing to pick up the slack but it was definitely a challenge,” Lagemann remarked.
He added it was difficult to have time and energy pulled in different directions, though coaching afforded him time with his family in a different way.
He coached his daughters Lauren and Ashtyn all four years of their high school careers and both were stand-outs.
After Lagemann assumed the head coaching position for the girl’s program, that season (2008-2009) and the following season, the team finished as EMO Conference champions and second in the district tournament. In the 2010-2011 season the team went to the Class 2 state tournament and finished in third place with an overall record of 28-4, his best as a coach.
The following season (2011-2012) his oldest daughter, Lauren, started playing for him as a freshman. The team was 24-5 that year and finished as the EMO Conference and district champions, but lost in the state quarterfinal.
His younger daughter, Ashtyn, joined the team as a freshman in the 2013-2014 season and the team once again claimed the conference and district crowns and finished the year 22-7.
During Lauren’s senior and Ashtyn’s sophomore years, the team once again claimed the conference and district prizes and returned to the Class 2 Final Four at state. The Lady Hawks again returned with third place hardware and completed a 27-4 record for the season.
Last year the Lady Hawks posted a 24-5 season and came up short in the state quarterfinal. This year the team finished 26-2 and fell in the district championship.
Overall, Lagemann retires with an overall record of 210-52 for girl’s basketball.
“I was very fortunate to have talented girl’s teams over the years.”
He added that he can’t pick a favorite bench from which to coach. He said there were positive take-aways from coaching boys and from coaching girls.
“The bottom line is you’re teaching them the game and you want to tech them how to be successful.”
Basketball is a fluent language in the Lagemann household. While Larry was a student he was coached by Dale Miller and his wife, Susan, was coached by Ed Lindsay. Over the years, Susan has been right by her husband’s side teaching and cheering and the kids have followed right along.
“I sort of followed in (Miller’s) footsteps as an administrator and coach. He was instrumental in getting me hired at Clopton,” Lagemann remarked. “With him and Coach Lindsay, I had really good role models and mentors. People with that amount of experience and knowledge – I used them as a model and a guide.”
Lagemann is home-grown talent and also played for two years at Culver-Stockton and two years for Maryville University before hanging it up as a player and taking over a whistle behind the bench.
He noted that he matured as a person and as a coach over the years.
“I adjusted to the kids. They want to be taught. They want to be cared about. They know what’s expected of them if they get the same effort from you,” Lagemann observed. “There have been years where a team has exceeded expectations and there are years where you don’t feel like you hit your potential. I just like the see the kids be successful and compete.”
Lagemann is leaving the coaching position as his youngest son, Evan, will be finishing junior high and entering high school in the next school year. Ashtyn will also be playing with John Wood Community College starting in the fall.
“It came together at the right time,” he noted.
Lagemann said that while he was able to spend a great deal of time with his girls while coaching, it sometimes came at the expense of activities in which Evan competed in junior high track and basketball. Lagemann said that leaving coaching will allow him more time to spend at Evan’s activities while still attending Ashtyn’s games.
“It’s going to be a big adjustment for all of us,” Lagemann said. “Our lives have revolved around this. It will be a lifestyle adjustment.”
Lagemann said he has enjoyed so many years that it’s hard to pick out his most fond memories.
He pointed to his second year as head coach (1998-1999) of the boy’s program, when the team finished 14-14 for the season and claimed the district championship.
He also noted the 2011 and 2015 seasons when the girl’s teams competed in the state tournament.
He added the year with both his daughters on the team at state will always hold a special place in his heart.
That memory, along with many others, are treasured by Lauren as well.
“Having my dad as my coach was definitely challenging because we didn’t have the typical coach-player relationship. He was definitely harder on myself and Ashtyn than he was on other players, especially in practices, which is something I don’t think a lot of people understand,” she stated. “I wouldn’t have wanted to have anyone else as my coach though, because it just makes all the success we had that much greater since it was with my dad. Going to the Final Four was definitely the best ending I could have had to a career with my dad and is by far my favorite memory and something I wish every player who has a parent that’s a coach could experience.”
Lagemann was praised by fellow staff members as well for his years of service in coaching.
“Coach Lagemann’s impact he had on the girl’s basketball program here at Clopton will definitely be missed. His coaching career was very decorated and one that many coaches only dream about. Whoever assumes his role as the new coach will have some big shoes to fill,” remarked Matt Cannon who serves as athletic director and a fellow coach at Clopton.
Superintendent Mark Harvey said he appreciates the job Lagemann has done.
“Larry’s commitment to the student athletes at Clopton is one to be emulated. He has been a positive role model for our kids during his tenure as a coach in the district,” he stated. “I must also thank Susan, Lauren, Ashtyn, and Evan for giving him up for the long hours he has spent away from his family,” he added.
Harvey said a replacement for the 2017-2018 season has not been named at this time and there is no definite timeline on when that announcement will be made.
Alum and former player Deavon Omohundro has served the past several years as Lagemann’s assistant coach.