Large stirs plenty of lasting memories

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 3, 2006

There will never be another Carl Large.

The death of the 74-year-old Large, known as Carl Gene to his friends, was a sad moment for those who knew him.

There may not have been a more colorful person in this area when it came to the sports world.

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I can remember sitting behind the Rock Hill bench during a basketball game and, all of a sudden, I saw Carl Gene sliding across the floor in front of his players sitting there.

When I asked Carl Gene about it after the game, he just grinned and said, “You’ve got to put on a show for the people. They pay to see a good show.”

Carl Large was a good show, but he was a lot more than that.

Just ask those who knew him.

“He was a good friend,” said Fred Wells, a next door neighbor who worked on the Rock Hill school board with Large.

“Carl would give you his last dollar. He would do anything for you if he liked you, but he would tell you if he didn’t like you. He was honest.”

The list of people who loved and respected Large is long. One such person is Mike Burcham, a long-time coach, was a basketball official during his early years. He remembered working games Large coached.“He was a great man and I thought he was a good coach. He was one of the most intense coaches I’ve ever been around,” Burcham said.

Large was as good of a player as the area has ever produced.

Large was a three-year star at Kitts Hill High School and scored 1,579 career points including 716 his senior season. He was all-county each season, was an Associated Press second team All-Ohio pick as a junior and first team as a senior.

His point total was the third most in Ohio high school basketball and included a personal game-high 41.

“He was one of the best shooters that I’ve ever seen,” said Kenny Fairchild, a former local dentist and sports enthusiast.

Large coached at Clinton-Massie starting in 1964 and then returned home to coach both the boys and girls teams at Rock Hill.

While Large had a lot of success at Rock Hill on the court, his success off the court was even greater. Large touched the lives of many players and earned so much love and respect from them.

As the sports world moves forward, Carl Large’s accomplishments may be lost on future generations. But his influence on those lives he touched will have an effect that will last a lifetime.

Jim Walker is sports editor of The Ironton Tribune.