Larry Birdwell accepted his first head coaching position at Lorenzo High School in 1982.
"I came from Dimmit with Ken Cleveland and we pressed and we ran and I just thought that's what you do. And I walked in and said this is what we are going to do,” Larry said. "And the first year was difficult. If you want to be good you have to stay in the gym and they bought in to that."
Three decades later, there are walls laden with plaques and trophies that sport 17 district championships, 14 regional tournament appearances and just one win shy of 1,000 wins.
All that time has developed quite a few rituals Birdwell and his teams would do every single gameday.
His wife Cheryl says she will never forget some of the so called “superstitions”
"The ritual included socks. Same socks, same underwear," Cheryl said.
"She said I was superstitious but I just said I was careful." Larry said.
Brian Aycock was a member of Larry’s first team as head coach.
"After every basket, he would reach down and pull up each of his socks," Brian said.
But Larry’s program was about so much more than just rituals.
Tucked away in a corner of an old office lie hundreds of folders containing thousands of planned workouts, stat sheets and game plans documenting a 35-year legacy.
“I can’t take credit for that,” Larry said. “That was a Coach Cleveland thing.”
And while family runs deep in small town sports, one family is special to Larry Birdwell, the Aycocks.
Larry coached six Aycock players between 1982 and 2010.
"He taught me to give my all, every day and i still do that to this day." Brian said.
Larry says that in those 35 years many of his assistant coaches came and went but there was one person who made a vow to stand at his side for every single season, his wife.
"She is the reason I was successful. Because she allowed me to put my heart and my time into it." Larry said.
But for Cheryl, she wouldn't have it any other way.
"And the longer we were there, one tradition became winning. it was our lives and it was fun! I mean I can't imagine not doing it," Cheryl said.
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