For 26 years, Larry Wall has been a fixture in Bountiful high school football, and this season the longtime coach earned himself a place in Utah football history, as he coached the Braves to his 200th win as a head coach.
With a win over Orem in the first round of the playoffs, Wall became the sixth Utah coach to reach 200 wins, but said that mark was not a goal when he started coaching.
"I don't know if that is something that you consciously think about. You don't set goals to win 200 games, it just kind of happens," Wall said. "I think the main thing is being able to be stable and be there for that long that I could even get there."
Wall, who now has 201 wins after the Braves defeated Spanish Fork in the 4A quarterfinals, joined Skyline's Roger DuPaix (288), Bonneville's Thom Budge (237) and legends Al Marshall (229), Earl Ferguson (213) and Arlyn Hafen (210) in the 200 win club. Wall's season ended last week with Bountiful losing to Mountain Crest in the 4A semifinals.
Wall isn't the only part of the Bountiful program that has been stable for so many years, but his subtle coaching style and the values he instills in his players are the same now as they were the first season he coached.
"Coach Wall bases everything on tradition," senior offensive lineman Landon Layton said. "He is really old fashioned and isn't one to go off and try new stuff when the old stuff is working. He really focuses on us playing Bountiful football, and everything else will take care of business. It's fun to play for a program where you know they have that tradition and it's all thanks to coach Wall."
Some of those traditions include creating a family among the players and coaches, playing and living by core values and giving the team time off in the off season to focus on things other than football.
Wall is known for his extensive football knowledge and his mild manner.
"He teaches us basic fundamentals and how to have a high football IQ that we can build upon and help us become better football players," senior receiver Dillon Salazar said. "He is probably one of the smartest coaches I've ever played for. He is always one play ahead of everyone else. That's why he's gotten his 200 wins, because he helps us play our best."
Because Wall is a man of few words, when he does speak it commands the respect of his players.
"At practices, he's only got a few words to say, but you know whatever he says is really important," junior quarterback Cam Zollinger said. "He just motivates you every time he speaks and you know we'll go out and win for him."
In his time as head coach at Bountiful, Wall has coached the Braves to four state championships and built a reputation for being one of the best coaches in the state.
"I know of several head college coaches that call and ask for his advice regularly," said Clark Stringfellow, assistant coach and former player of Wall's. "He could be a college coach, but he chooses to be the high school coach and teacher. But he has the respect of not only the players but coaches everywhere."
But what really makes Wall so successful may not have to do with football at all, but rather the sense of pride and integrity he lives with and instills in his team year after year.
"He has some pretty strong values and does things the right way," Stringfellow said. "He's just a leader that you just love to get behind. He's a big integrity guy and very concerned with his staff and players always doing the right thing, whether people are looking or not, and we are a very disciplined program because of it."
Those who play for Wall earn a knowledge of how to succeed in life.
"I've learned a lot from him. He's not only a great coach at football, he's a life coach," Salazar said. "Life isn't about football, it's about growing up and being a good person in the community and being a good example, because there is always someone watching you."
Larry Wall, Bountiful football coach
Wall has no intentions to retire anytime soon, saying he'll coach until it's not fun anymore.
Bountiful has won 4 state championships under Wall.
Wall says tradition and support from the community can be credited for his success.