After 31 years pacing the sidelines as Bountiful’s head football coach, Larry Wall is hanging up his customary cap and whistle.
Wall, 60, announced his retirement to his team on Friday morning and said he’s excited for the next chapter in his life
“I just feel like it’s the time. There isn’t anything negative at all. I’ve lived a charmed life here,” said Wall, who’s been coaching high school football for a total of 37 years.
During his 31 years, Wall guided Bountiful to a 238-116 record, with four state championships (1990, 1991, 2002, 2003) and six region championships (1990, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2010, 2012).
This past year Bountiful finished with a 7-5 record and an appearance in the 4A quarterfinals.
“It’s a great community here, great school. Great administrators that support us and support me. We’ve built a really great tradition here, with that tradition we just tried to build on that every year,” said Wall. “I think the guys learn from the previous group that came through, and then you have some stability.”
In a profession where many schools see coaching turnover every three or four years, Wall’s lengthy tenure at Bountiful is a rarity, which he tried to convey to his surprised players Friday.
Wall was the longest-tenured coach in the state prior to announcing his retirement, a banner that is now passed to Emery coach Jim Jones who just finished his 28th year as head coach.
Looking back at some of Bountiful’s old football rosters recently, Wall marveled at how much bigger the players are than they were 20 and 30 years ago.
Even though the size and speed of athletes have evolved, Wall said he’s tried to keep the core philosophy the same at Bountiful.
“The goal was the kids first, give them a good experience. The life lessons they can learn in football they can't learn anywhere else,” said Wall.
Wall plans on sticking around at Bountiful to teach for a few more years, and “just be a fan of Bountiful.”
As for what he’ll do with himself on all those summer mornings and fall Friday nights, Wall wasn’t sure, but said that he’d “enjoy life and my family.”
Also stepping down is Clark Stringfellow, Wall’s longtime assistant coach of 22 years. Stringfellow will remain on as the head baseball coach at Bountiful.
In a text message, Stringfellow said, “We have loved our journey and we both love BHS so much. … All glory to Coach Wall though. He is the man!”
Wall is the third big-name high school coach that’s stepped down in the past two weeks. Logan’s Mike Favero and Mountain Crest’s Mark Wootton recently announced that they’re stepping down as well.
Deseret News prep editor and Real Salt Lake beat writer. EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org