COLUMBUS - Throughout most of central Ohio, Larry Larson is known as Mr. High School Sports. For the past 20 years he has covered athletic events for WTVN radio in Columbus.
Others simply know him as Coach. Larson spent more than three decades as a teacher, coach and athletic administrator.
But for those of us who make the yearly trip here for the boys' state basketball tournament, the first thing that pops to mind when Larson's name is brought up is bow tie.
Special to the Tribune Chronicle
Newton Falls basketball coach Roy Sembach, right, and his assistant, Thomas Shaulis were honored on Saturday. Sembach’s award commemorates his 300th victory, while Shaulis earned the Bob Arnzen Award, which is given to coaches, who serve the same school for at least 20 straight years.
For a couple of decades Larson has been in charge of much of the media duties at the tourney. Whether it's passing out pre-game notes, making sure coaches and players get to press conferences, or updating press row on collegiate scores, Larson always has a smile on his face and a bow tie around his neck.
Before Saturday's Division III championship game, Larson was honored with the OHSAA Media Award of Merit. Larson lost his wife, Jeanne, to cancer in 2008. He is planning on moving to California next fall to be close to his daughter, Liza.
For members of the media, the tournament won't be the same without him around. He was as helpful as they come and never complained about any requests.
Several years ago, former Tribune Chronicle sports editor David Burcham brought bow ties for he and I to wear. Larson loved it. For years, every time he saw us he would point out to everyone, "Those Warren guys have class".
In 2006, I brought my own. When he saw me on press row with the bow tie on, he brought an usher over. "Stand right behind Lou," he told him. "The women are going to go crazy when they see his tie so you have to stop them from getting to him."
Media members were handed pictures of Larson on sticks and paper bow ties prior to yesterday's ceremony. When he walked out to center court at Value City Arena, we all held up the pictures.
Larson walked off the court with his typical smile and shook everyone's hand. "How about that?" he said. "How about that?"
FALLS HONORS: Two Newton Falls boys' basketball coaches were also honored Saturday by the OHSAA.
Roy Sembach received a clock for earning his 300th win as head coach. Thomas Shaulis, Sembach's assistant, received the Bob Arnzen Award, given to coaches who have served the same school for at least 20 straight years.
Sembach's 300th actually came in a regional semifinal in 2010.
"The fact that it was in the regional semis was special in itself," Sembach said. "Other than that all it says is that I've been coaching a long time and been around some really good people."
In what may be an OHSAA first, the man Sembach replaced as coach (Gene Zorn) also broke the 300-win plateau.
LOCAL SONGBIRD: John F. Kennedy sophomore Allison Mintus sang the Star Spangled Banner before the D-III championship game.
LOCAL REFS: Two area officials were on the same crew for a semifinal contest.
Bill Nicholson of Cortland and Youngstown's Rob Luklan were on Thursday's D-IV semifinal between Houston and Canal Winchester Harvest Prep.
GETTING CLOSER: Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary moved into second place on the state's list of boys' basketball titles.
The Irish captured their sixth crown with a 57-46 victory over Dayton Thurgood Marshall in the D-II title game. SV-SM moved ahead of Columbus East and is now just one short of Middletown.