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Larry Sandy named Region 3 Coach of the Year

Larry Sandy has been the football coach at Velva High School for 31 years, having been named coach of the year several times over. He gained the title once again this year at the end of the regional tournament.

Sandy graduated from Westhope High School in 1981 and went to Minot State University for education, gaining his degree in 1986. He spent a few years in South Dakota, one year in Steele, N.D., and has been in Velva ever since.

During his time in Velva, he has taught business and physical education, alongside being the school’s tech coordinator and athletic director for the past eight to 10 years. The title “coach of the year” means so much more to Sandy than just an individual award for himself.

“It probably reflects more the success of the team than anything else,” he said. “I think individual awards are nice and they put a little positive on your ego, but ultimately, I think it represents what you, your coaching staff and your players what success you had during the season.”

He also described 2020 as a good season, despite losing in Lisbon at the semi-final game. The team consisted of a large group of seniors who had high expectations for the game, hoping for the win before they graduate.

According to Sandy, those seniors had successful careers, participating in three semi-final games and a quarter-final game.

Over the last 31 years, the varsity football team made it to the quarterfinal round 10 times, semi-final round six times and have won nine Dakota Bowl championships. That incredible level of success can be difficult to live up to.

With the seniors graduating in May, the current sophomores and juniors will have to step up to mentor the younger generations alongside Sandy. He is staying hopeful that if he and his team continue to follow COVID-19 guidelines, they will still be able to play next fall.

As to how many more years Sandy is planning to continue coaching football, it is currently unknown. For now, he is just taking things day by-day to get through.

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