Larry Sellers served students at GTACS as a teacher and principal. His greatest impact, though, was as coach for St. Francis High School football team from 1974 to 2003. He took the reins of the SFHS football program from mentor, Waldo Keating, and set the tone for the next 30 years by leading his first team to an Associated Press Class C state title.
School life was a family affair for the Sellers. With his wife, Sue, providing behind the scenes support, their three daughters took the field as cheerleaders or members of the band, while their son provided sideline support for years until he donned the pads and played for his father. Josh later succeeded his father as head coach.
Like the best of coaches and teachers, Larry did not just present the material and move on. He demanded strong performance from his players and staff and persevered until they delivered, demanding nothing less from himself. Coach Sellers’ teams were goal driven. Strong bonds and shared commitment forged in pursuit of those goals turned dreams into reality.
Coach Sellers recognized that confidence and competence are flip sides of the same coin and worked hard to build both. He instilled strong attributes in his players, including self-confidence, the strength to rise to tough challenges, self-reliance as well as teamwork, and a belief in hard work. Building character and commitment were givens in his football program.
Larry knew that players will, from time to time, fail – at football and at life. Though that reality could come down hard, he always extended that next chance, knowing that while failure is a good teacher, failure without redemption is just failure. Young people in distress were met with love, sometimes tough love, in working through difficult spots and emerging better people.
Larry recognized early on that the game and the classroom were merely his vehicles for helping young people learn and grow – his real love was for the students whose lives he helped enrich and who in turn enriched his. He led his young men to many crowns, but remained focused on the real goal line – preparing them for the Kingdom of God. The pre-game Mass became a St. Francis tradition. After each win he ended the team prayer with, “Mary, Queen of Victory,” and his team responded, “Pray for us.” After losses, the intercession was addressed to “Mary, Seat of Wisdom.” He taught his teams to be humble in victory, gracious in defeat, and to learn from both.