Larry Cordaro, head coach of the LSUA men’s basketball team, is awarded February 2017’s Hometown Hero award. It was presented by WNTZ FOX 48, Randy Wiggins of Randy Wiggins State Farm Insurance and Josh Poe, executive pastor of Journey Church.
With assistance from LSUA athletic director Adam Jonson, Wiggins and Poe surprised Jones on March 3, just before LSUA played against Wiley College (Texas) in the semifinal round of the Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC) Basketball Tournament held at the Rapides Parish Coliseum. They presented him a plaque, along with gifts from local businesses across Central Louisiana, valued at $250.00.
Cordaro was humbled by the honor bestowed upon him, and how the LSUA team was instrumental in the acknowledgement. “I’ll cherish this moment and the times that we’ve (the team) had here as a program. Hopefully, there are more things to come, but this is neat right here (the Hometown Heroes award),” he said.
The emotion Cordaro displays is evident, as he explains his love for basketball, the Generals team he coaches, his adopted city of Alexandria, and the love and respect he has for the entire Cenla community.
“My hometown is Ruston, but Alexandria is a close second right there,” Cordaro said. “We’ve enjoyed being here and starting the program. (There’s) great support from the Cenla community. It’s been a fun ride.”
Cordaro arrived in Alexandria in 2014 to build the fledgling LSUA men’s basketball team as its first ever head coach. Building a new sports program from scratch at the college level can be a daunting task. Recruiting players and coaching personnel, coordinating needs for the team with university administration and marketing the team to LSUA students, faculty and Central Louisiana were all on the list.
What was to be assembled in the first season came as a surprise to everyone surrounding the program. The LSUA Generals won the Red River Athletic Conference regular season and tournament titles.
Now in the third season for Cordaro, the team and their school, LSUA has won its third straight RRAC regular season men’s basketball title by winning all 29 games and going on a two-season, 40 home game winning streak.
After Wiggins and Poe awarded Cordaro the Hometown Hero award, LSUA won their semifinal game against Wiley College, then defeated Langston University (Okla.) in the conference tournament final. It is LSUA’s second RRAC tournament title in three years.
The undefeated 2016-17 season earned LSUA a berth in the NAIA Men’s Basketball Tournament in Kansas City, Mo., where they were the overall #1 national seed. The team made it to the semifinal round where they were defeated and eliminated from tournament play by Life University from Georgia, the only loss of the regular season and postseason. The Generals season ended in 34 wins and only one loss.
Cordaro also gets involved in the community as much as he can when not handling the business of college basketball. “The basketball season is long, and there are lot of responsibilities within that,” he said. He coordinates multiple basketball youth camps, volunteers his time with the Cenla Area United Way and is key in starting the Fellowship of Christian Athletes on the LSUA campus. He also is a guest speaker at many community events, banquets, meetings, career days and youth groups.
Among the many honors bestowed upon Cordaro, he has been named Basketball Times Coach of the Year, Don Meyer NAIA National Coach of the Year, HoopDirt NAIA National Coach of the Year and has won the Red River Conference Coach of the Year twice and the Louisiana Association of Basketball Coaches Small College Coach of the Year twice.
However with the success, Cordaro’s ultimate goal is to shape the minds of the young people he coaches and mentors. “We also got to remember the books. We want to give back to the kids of this community (with an education),” he said.
Knowing the role a community plays in developing a young person during their college years, Cordaro said, “These guys are learning life lessons, not just winning basketball games, and it’s not just me. I’m just hanging along for the ride. It is a lot of important people, what you guys (members of the community) do on a daily basis that doesn’t get credit or recognition.”
Hometown Heroes is sponsored by Randy Wiggins State Farm Insurance and Journey Church in Pineville.