The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

June 28, 2013

Callison comes out of retirement to take Tahlequah Sequoyah job

By Anvil Welch
Globe Sports Writer

— Larry Callison was having no problem with retirement.

Callison was living in Claremore, spending more time with wife Arland, playing a lot of golf — even more than usual — enjoying son Jeremy’s children and watching son Grant’s Ketchum High School’s boys basketball team.

How do you spoil that scenario?

You return to coaching, of course.

Callison has been named girls basketball coach at Tahlequah Sequoyah High School.

“I had no intention of coaching again,” Callison said Friday.

But Tahlequah Sequoyah called and eventually asked Callison if he would be interested in coaching the girls.

Leroy Qualls is the superintendent at Tahlequah Sequoyah and Callison believes they have immense mutual respect.

“He’s a good man,” Callison, 58, said of Qualls (a good friend and a former coaching adversary). “He’s probably the reason I’m back in coaching.”

Callison, who’s nearing 750 career wins in boys and girls basketball, insisted he might coach just one season.

“But they have great facilities,” Callison said. “They always have good teams. It will be a pressure job.”

Callison said four starters are scheduled to return from a team that lost in the first round of the Oklahoma Class 4A Tournament.

“Also, their young girls are very talented,” Callison said.

Callison said another valuable returnee is assistant coach Cassie Moore (a former Tahlequah Sequoyah standout).

Callison also will coach the freshman girls and both boys and girls golf. Jon Minor, one of his former players at Stilwell, will assist in golf.

Callison, who’s coached 14 teams to the state tournament, guided the Ketchum boys to the Class A finals three straight seasons in 1993-96. The middle edition beat Hooker 68-66 for the title. He also guided Stilwell to a runner-up finish in 4A in 2000.

He returned to the Ketchum boys in 2010-11 and 2011-12 before Grant, in his first season, finished 26-1 with the Lucky ‘7’ Conference Warriors and lost in the first round of 2A.

The elder Callison, whose wife is administrator at Legacy Christian School in Claremore, achieved the feat of reaching state in his first year as a head coach with the Gore boys.