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Shepherd grad Slade in 45th year of coaching

By Staff | Dec 1, 2017

When he was an offensive lineman at Shepherd, Larry Slade weighed about 175 pounds. In Slade’s football-playing era that wasn’t all that small.

His playing career ended after the 1972 season when he was a team captain along with Steve Clarke and Mike Calhoun. It was in Coach Walter Barr’s second season and the Rams finished with a 7-3 record and a WVIAC league championship. Shepherd had gone 7-1-2 in Barr’s first season in 1971.

After his graduation in the spring of 1973, Slade stayed on in Shepherdstown and became one of Barr’s assistant coaches. From the 1973 football season until 1982, Slade was at Shepherd. In his last three seasons with the Rams, he was the team’s defensive coordinator.

When scanning Slade’s long tenure at Shepherd, one might think his roots had grown thick and gone deep.

But that line of thinking would be a little off base.

When he went south to coach Richmond Spiders, Slade began a long career of cross country movement that has taken him to one national championship, a lengthy stay with the Tennessee Vols, to College Park when Mark Duffner was the head coach at Maryland, to Louisville after Charlie Strong left for Texas, and for the last two seasons at tradition-rich Carson Newman in Jefferson City, Tennessee.

Slade’s one brush with a national championship was at the University of Washington where he was an assistant under head coach Don James.

Before reaching the Great Northwest and the University of Washington, Slade had also been at Howard and Southern Illinois.

The many moves made by Slade are actually only standard operating procedure for most assistant coaches.

Back in the 1990s, Slade was inducted into the Shepherd Athletic Hall of Fame.

Slade had stayed at Tennessee until Philip Fulmer was fired at Maryland until Mark Duffner was terminated, and at Louisville until Steve Kragthorpe was removed as head coach in favor of Bobby Petrino.

Along the many highways and byways that Slade has traveled in his decades-long tenure he has been an offensive coach and a defensive coach. It was as a defensive secondary coach at Tennessee that he worked with five athletes that went on to careers in the NFL.

At Carson Newman in the just-completed season the Eagles went 8-3 and won their last three games.

Several head coaches at stations where he worked have volunteered that Slade is a valued recruiter. His friends, one-time colleagues and scads of acquaintances made along with coaching trail give him inroads to potential recruits that many others don’t have.

And it all began at little Shepherd College in the late 1960s.

Shepherd used to send its correspondence and letters with a red-lettered stamp on the envelops that read “Shepherd students succeed.”

Larry Slade, now a senior citizen still associated with winning football teams, has certainly succeeded.