TAYLORVILLE HIGH SCHOOL
SPORTS HALL OF FAME
PORTRAIT

LARRY FRIEDRICH

   
 Friedrich, a 1957 graduate of Taylorville High School, excelled in three sports while representing the Purple and Gold. He earned a total of nine varsity letters, three each in track, baseball and basketball.

    While he split his time between track and baseball each spring, Friedrich spent enough time on the cinders to lead the team in scoring his senior year, and was an outfielder and pitcher on three of Red Bland’s outstanding baseball teams.

    But it was basketball that proved to define Larry Friedrich as a hall of fame caliber athlete. During his junior year, the Tornadoes while competitive in most games ended the regular season with an 8 and 16 record. But as the regional tournament began, the team elevated its play, scoring 100 points in each of their first two tournament games. The defeated Shelbyville for the Regional Championship and Larry Friedrich became the teams tournament scoring leader. Following the Regional Championship, the Tornadoes kept up their winning habit and Friedrich his scoring habit, with victories over Brownstown and Clinton to reach the “Sweet Sixteen”. Losing to Rantoul 79-74 ended a Cinderella tournament for the 1956 team, but Larry Friedrich would return the next year as an experienced senior.

    During his senior year, Friedrich was selected team captain and Most Valuable Player for the 18-8 Regional Champions. He was also the teams leading scorer and was selected to the Chicago Daily News All- State Basketball Team.

    As a result of his performance during his senior year, Eastern Illinois University offered Friedrich a scholarship to play basketball for the Panthers. While at Eastern, he earned three varsity letters and became the first player in E.I.U. history to win both the scoring title and the Most Valuable Player award in the Interstate Interscholastic Athletic Conference. In earning those awards, Friedrich posted a scoring average of 23.7 points per game. After graduating from college, Friedrich continued playing basketball in the Amateur Athletic Union until 1971.

    Larry Friedrich also became a teacher and a coach at Taylorville High School in 1961. He began and coached the first cross country team at THS in 1961, continuing until 1966. He then took over the head coaching duties of the varsity baseball team for four years. In 1977 he became the girls’ tennis coach, moving over to coach the boys in 1981. During his tenure as boys tennis coach, he took thirteen different players to the state tournament and one team, in 1985 , qualified to compete in the state tournament after winning the sectional championship. Friedrich also served as assistant varsity basketball coach for four years and assistant track coach for one year. He culminated his high school coaching career as the varsity soccer coach guiding the Tornadoes to over 100 wins between 1981 and 1993.
    
    But Friedrich not only coached tennis, he also competed as a player for twenty years, winning the Taylorville City Championship eleven straight years from 1975 through 1985 and capping that last year by winning the State of Illinois Volvo Tennis Singles Championship. During his competitive career, Friedrich won 165 tennis titles.