E.A. Sports Today

Strain officially on board at Handley

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

There really was only one job in the world Larry Strain would have left White Plains to take. The hardest part was it came open one year after he started that building process.

Strain was officially approved as Handley’s new football coach Monday, three days after East Alabama Sports Today broke the story of his departure.

He said Monday he hated the timing of the move, but thought if he didn’t take it now he might not get another chance at what he considered a dream job.

“I really don’t like the timing of how it all went,” Strain said Monday. “I hated that I only stayed at White Plains a year. They were extremely nice to me and I honestly thought we were starting to turn the corner.

“I thought (Handley) would be a good job to have. I had no idea that the timing would be now. I didn’t want to leave White Plains (but) I probably would not have another opportunity to go to Handley if I turned it down.”

Handley was Strain’s first coaching job out of college and he was there for eight years. He had applied for its head coaching job once before, but school administrators came after him this time.

The hire marks a return to Randolph County for the veteran coach. He coached at Woodland 15 seasons before taking the White Plains job, in part to be closer to his daughters who were playing basketball for the first time together at. Jacksonville State.

“It’s closer to home, but not the girls,” he said.

Strain’s White Plains team was 2-8 this past season with wins over Pleasant Valley and Crossville. After a slow start offensively, his young team scored 40 points or more three times in the last six games and at least 30 four times.

He was 100-78 at Woodland with two trips to the state championship game. He also coached his daughters in basketball, but will be strictly the football coach at his new post.

He spent his first day “trying to figure out which key went to what door” and meeting with his assistant coaches. He wasn’t immediately certain of his plans for the spring. He said he thought the program had a chance to contend for the state championship.

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