By Fred Woods

Larry Blakeney, recently retired after 24 years as head coach at Troy University, will be honored by his many East Alabama friends, fans and admirers on the evening of Jan. 16 at the Larry Blakeney Appreciation Gala. The event will be held at the Event Center Downtown in Opelika. Cocktails are at 6 p.m. with dinner at 7 p.m.; dress is semi-formal.
The Appreciation Gala is being hosted by The East Alabama Alumni Chapter of Troy University, members of the Auburn Football Letterrmen Club and the Kiwanis Club of Opelika.
Individual tickets cost $60. Table sponsorship is $1,200, and a presenting sponsorship is $2,500. Tickets and sponsorships may be purchased at the Event Center Downtown or from Kiwanis Club of Opelika, Attn: Lisa Ditchkoff, 614 N. Railroad Ave., Opelika, AL 36801.
Blakeney’s record at Troy was 178 wins, 113 losses and one tie.He was one of only two head coaches to take a football program from NCAA Division II to Division I (FBC). Along the way, his Trojan teams pulled off stunning wins over Mississippi State (2001), Missouri (2004) and Oklahoma State (2007).
His coaching honors include:
– Johnny Vaught Lifetime Achievement Award (2000)
– Wiregrass Sports Hall of Fame (2008)
– Alabama Sports Hall of Fame (2009)
– Troy University Sports Hall of Fame (2012) (Inaugural Class)
– Twice Sunbelt Coach of the Year
– Led Troy to two Southland Conference titles and five Sunbelt Conference championships
Blakeney played quarterback and defensive back at Auburn, lettering three years and graduating in 1970. After six years as a high school coach he joined the AU staff for 14 years, beginning as offensive line coach, before moving to Troy as head coach in December 1990.
For questions and additional information contact Ditchkoff at 705-5466 or