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Longtime Lakeville coach Larry Thompson retires after 38-year career

11/29/2016, 12:45pm CST
By Ellis L. Williams and Paul Klauda, Star Tribune

He coached at the legacy Lakeville High School before moving to the Lakeville South in 2005.


Lakeville South coach Larry Thompson ran drills with his team during a practice in August 2011. Star Tribune file photo

Larry Thompson, who coach high school football in Lakeville for 38 years, has resigned as the first and only head coach at Lakeville South.

Thompson’s decision was disclosed in a letter, made public Tuesday, to school athletic director Neil Strader, the District 194 school board and players and booster club members.

“I want to thank all the great players I have had the honor of coaching,’’ Thompson wrote. “The football families I have worked with are going to be my lasting friends.  I have really enjoyed working with all the outstanding coaches that have been on my staff.’’

Thompson, 63, moved to Lakeville South when the school opened in 2005 after the district decided to build a second high school.  He led Lakeville South into the Prep Bowl in 2006, when it lost to Eden Prairie. He compiled a career coaching record of 259-143.

Previously as coach at Lakeville High School, he led the program to three state championships, most recently the Class 5A title in 2003. He also led the school to three runner-up finishes.

Thompson was named coach of the year five times.

In an interview, Thompson said, “It has been fun, but I am trying to move on. I do not have the energy anymore to get it done." 

Asked if he had future coaching plans, he said, "The only thing I would do right now is coach my grandsons," who are sixth- and eighth-graders. “I usually just watch them [play]. But now I might have time to [coach them]."  

Thompson lives on a farm south of Lakeville, “about 1,500 acres, so it is a lot of work to do,'' he said. "I look forward to doing that."

In his letter, Thompson added, “I was going to coach at South until we got turf, but I can’t wait until I’m 100.’’

Text of Larry Thompson's resignation letter

To:  Neil Strader

        #194 School Board

        Lakeville South Booster Club

        Lakeville South Football Players

                I would like to retire from my position as Head Football Coach at South High School.  It has been an amazing 38 years as Head Coach.  I would like to thank Bob Erickson and a very supportive school board, along with Neil Strader and the preceding Athletic Directors.  I want to thank all the great players I have had the honor of coaching.  The football families I have worked with are going to be my lasting friends.  I have really enjoyed working with all the outstanding coaches that have been on my staff.  Thank you to all of you.  I need to mention my best friends, Dave Comer, Jim Knutson, Dick Zeman, and the late Dick “Magic” Johnson.  You guys are the best.

                I was going to coach at South until we got turf, but I can’t wait until I’m 100.

Thanks for the memories and God Bless.

                                Larry Thompson

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