Wilcox named to NAIA Hall of Fame

For the past 38 years, one man has roamed the sidelines of the Benedictine football program.

Now, his legacy will be cemented in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame.

Benedictine head coach Larry Wilcox was elected to the NAIA Hall of Fame Class of 2016 as a part of a seven-member class Thursday during the NAIA’s annual Awards Day.

Benedictine coach Larry Wilcox studies the field as the Ravens take on Avila on Sept. 3 at Larry Wilcox Stadium in Atchison, Kansas.
Benedictine coach Larry Wilcox studies the field as the Ravens take on Avila on Sept. 3 at Larry Wilcox Stadium in Atchison, Kansas.

“It’s a nice surprise and I am excited about joining a group of athletes and coach and people who have made NAIA football what it is over the generations,” Wilcox said.

He will be inducted in a ceremony held during the annual American Football Coaches Association Convention in Nashville, Tennessee, next January.

Wilcox, a 1972 alum of Benedictine, is the second winningest active head coach in the NAIA with a record of 263-140 and has spent his entire career at his alma mater.

Along the way he has guided Benedictine to six Heart of America conference championships, as well as 12 appearances in the NAIA Football Championship Series with a pair of trips to the semifinals in 1992 and 2001.

Wilcox also has been named the AFCA Region Coach of the Year twice in his career, most recently in 2013.

“No, I was just a 28-year old head coach that would have been the last thing on my mind, we were all just trying to survive to the next week,” Wilcox said on if he could have imaged being named to the Hall of Fame when he started coaching in 1979.

In 2008, Raven Stadium was renamed ‘Larry Wilcox Stadium’ in his honor.

Part of the success the Ravens have had stems from the consistency at the core of the coaches. Defensive coordinator/athletic director Charlie Gartenmayer and assistant coach Dennis Murphy have been with the program since the Wilcox era began in ‘79.

“Its an award, really, that goes to a lot of people. First and foremost in that group are coaches that have invested so much over such a long period of time and have believed in what we are doing here,” Wilcox said.

Wilcox joins former player Jamie Mueller, a member of the Class of 2007 and former Buffalo Bills fullback, in the Hall of Fame.