Larry O’Connor had built a powerhouse program at Wallace County High School in Sharon Springs.
Under O’Connor’s direction, Wallace County won state championships in boys basketball in 2015 and 2017. O’Connor was happy and content in Sharon Springs and had no plans to move.
But when the Canton-Galva High School boys basketball program was looking for a new head coach and athletic director, O’Connor felt it was the right move.
"We felt it was the right time. This would have been the only job that I would have taken," O’Connor said. "I was not looking to leave Sharon Springs. I really enjoyed my time there."
O’Connor’s son, Tyler, is the defensive coordinator for the defending state champion Canton-Galva football team. This was perhaps the biggest reason O’Connor made the switch to Canton-Galva.
O’Connor is excited to coach at the same school as his son, but admits their coaching styles are different.
"I’m a high-energy guy, Tyler is more low-key," O’Connor said. "Tyler is very well respected, and I’m excited to coach with my son."
O’Connor has coaching experience at Fairfield High School, Brewster High School, and Wallace County High School. In his five years at Brewster, O’Connor guided the Titans to state championships in 2000 and 2001.
O’Connor has spent the last 20 years as head coach of the Wallace County boys basketball team.
"I’ll remember the championships we won, the people I met, and the kids I had the opportunity to coach," O’Connor said. "I was not looking to move, but Canton came calling, and it was the only place I would have left for."
O’Connor has over 20 years of experience as athletic director, which he will continue at Canton-Galva.
"This first year I want to get in and get to know the coaches and help where I can," O’Connor said. "I want to hopefully make a really good program into a better program in all sports, not just football. I want to concentrate on getting the kids the best coaches and assistant coaches we can find."
O’Connor is famous for his high-octane offense and relentless full-court pressure defense.
"We’re going to press full court from the get-go, we’re going to throw four or five different presses at teams," O’Connor said. "I run a 4-out, 1-in offense. We’re going to kick it to shooters, we’re going to shoot a lot of 3s, and we’ll get at it."
The Eagles will return a solid core, led by 6-3 post Tyson Struber. Brayden Collins and Brayden Minson will be other key returners next season.
O’Connor is hoping to get some new faces into the basketball program as well.
"They’ve got some good athletes walking the hall who weren’t even playing last year," O’Connor said. "I play 10-12 kids, so we need to develop some kids.
"As far as talent, I’m really impressed with the potential. We’ve got to learn how to win first. Just like the football team had to learn to win, they went through some losses, but once they learn to win it becomes easy."
O’Connor and his family moved to Galva last Friday.