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Mosley is the man behind the scenes at SCC

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

(Photo)
Larry Mosley
SIKESTON -- Scott County Central paid tribute to one of its unsung heroes with the presentation of a plaque to Larry Mosley prior to the varsity game on Tuesday.

Mosley, who has coached the Scott County school district's grade schoolers for 25 years, was honored for his contributions to the school's basketball program.

A retired custodian at Scott Central, Mosley has given tirelessly of his time and resources to nurture young student-athletes, many of whom have gone on to play integral roles on past and, hopefully, future championship teams at Missouri's most prolific -- in terms of state titles -- high school basketball program.

"Back in the early 80s when Ronnie (Cookson) started that run with some really good teams, Larry was very instrumental in developing the kids and bringing the system down into the third and fourth grades, so when Ronnie got a hold of them, they were already familiar with his offensive and defensive styles," said Joby Holland, superintendent of the Scott County school district. "I student taught here in the late 80s and got to see how it worked firsthand. Larry spent a lot of time with those young kids and he'd pick them up, at his own expense, and drive the kids to games or whatever was necessary to help them get involved. He got a lot of kids involved in sports that, probably had he not been able to reach them, might not have played sports in high school.

"Getting that award tonight was probably the first thing that's been given to him. He never asked for anything or wanted anything for himself. He just wanted to help the school."

It began in 1980 when Mosley's son Mark was in the third grade. He had no prior coaching experience but had played basketball at schools in Tennessee, Georgia and at Matthews, Mo.

According to Mosley, he approached Cookson one day about running the grade school program.

The timing was perfect as grade school coach Ron Cook had just left to take over the Jackson girls' program and Cookson was coaching the fifth and sixth graders along with his varsity and junior varsity duties.

From that beginning, the program under Mosley's guidance, has now expanded to grades 1 through 6 and a girls program as well.

"Larry was the first person that I ever called 'Coach,'" said Scott Central alumnus and coach David Heeb. "He means a lot to me personally, but he also means a lot to our school and our basketball program. "The best compliment that I could give Larry is you probably couldn't count how many kids he's kept involved and kept interested that other people would have written off.

"He's been like a father figure to a lot of kids. There are people in every school, people behind the scenes, who are involved and help make a program go, but I really don't believe there's anybody like Larry at any other school around here. Who would do it for this long, for no pay, for no glory, but just because he loves the kids?

"There are two people here who have seen it all, Larry Mosley and Ronnie Cookson. They were here for every good player and every state championship."

Mosley said the source of his greatest satisfaction is to see a kid have a chance to play basketball, keep them out of trouble's way and, if their skills allow, help provide the opportunity to receive a college education, often through a basketball scholarship.

Many alums of Scott Central and other area high schools, who came up through Mosley's program, have done just that, including Marcus Timmons (played at SIU, then had pro career overseas), Mark Mosley (Larry's son who played at Alcorn State), Terry Bell, John Fort, Jr., David Heeb, Jerry Porter, Dominitrix Johnson (finished high school at Bell City, won state championship, played at Three Rivers, now at Illinois State), Corey Gipson (Mosley's nephew, who played at Three Rivers and Austin Peay, now coaching at Virginia State), Chris Pullen (all-state player for the Braves, now at College of the Ozarks and a member of the 2006 NAIA D-II National Champions).

Mosley's teaching is all about the basics.

"Larry knows the game, but he doesn't make it hard for kids to play," said Heeb. "He doesn't run any fancy plays, any trick plays or anything, just basic basketball that any kid can understand. He drills fundamentals, fundamentals, fundamentals.

"We didn't have plays, we just learned how to play."

Said Mosley, "If you start them out in the first grade, by the time they're seventh graders, they know the basics pretty good."

Cookson, who has led Scott Central to 12 state championships, is one of the first to recognize Mosley's contributions.

"Larry's been tremendous to the basketball program," he said. "He dedicates all his time on Saturday's with the little kids and does a great job with them, getting them started and enthused about playing. I can't say enough about him.

"He had a son who played for me and now he's got a grandson (freshman Bobby Hatchett) playing. He's still a great help, a good man to have around. I'm sure glad he was here at Scott Central."