Collected Wisdom: Larry Mantle, retired high school coach and brother of Mickey Mantle

Larry Mantle talked with The Oklahoman about his brother, his coaching career and more.
by Jacob Unruh Modified: September 28, 2013 at 5:04 pm •  Published: September 28, 2013
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photo - Former Cashion coach Larry Mantle is presented with a jersey by his former players as he is honored during halftime of Cashion's high school football game against Minco in Cashion, Okla., Friday, Sept. 27, 2013. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
Former Cashion coach Larry Mantle is presented with a jersey by his former players as he is honored during halftime of Cashion's high school football game against Minco in Cashion, Okla., Friday, Sept. 27, 2013. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

Larry Mantle handles the questions about his brother with grace.

Mantle is the younger brother of Hall of Fame baseball player Mickey Mantle, but he's also an accomplished high school football coach who now teaches General Education Development at the Lawton Correctional Facility.

Still, he is often asked about his famous brother, who died in 1995 from liver cancer.

Friday night, though, was Larry's night as he was honored by Cashion at halftime for guiding the Wildcats to the state championship in 1977 and setting the school's record for career wins.

He also spent time at Cordell, Northwest Classen, Cyril and even a period in Texas coaching six-man football.

Mantle talked with The Oklahoman about his brother, his coaching career and more.

Of course the first 18 years of my life at Commerce it wasn't that big of a deal. I really think it's a bigger deal with people now more than ever. I work out at the prison, so those guys out there are all in awe that I'm Mickey Mantle's brother.

I used to go to New York about every summer. Kind of a two-day deal: I liked to go to the games and all of that, but I think the main purpose was he had four boys and Merlyn needed help when he was on the road.

One thing that people also get awed at was we carpooled from New Jersey to Yankee Stadium. Our carpool was Bill Skowron, Hank Bauer and Yogi Berra. But my experience in New York was just mainly going to ballgames and whatever Merlyn wanted to do.

We were a pretty athletic family. I played (basketball) in three national tournaments in college and was one of the main players. When I went to junior college, I played for Cotton Fitzsimmons at Worley Junior College and finished third in the nation my first year and then my second year in the National Junior College Tournament we got beat in overtime in the finals.

I went into the Navy and when I came back I was just looking for a job. Of course I thought I was probably going to be a basketball coach, but come to find out I was a lot better football coach.

I was the head football coach and student teacher my first year. Cashion itself had just been playing for three years and they had won one game in their lifetime. Really, I played high school football but that didn't amount to nothing. So here's a guy who coached football but hadn't really played much, so what I did was what I think a lot of people do when they don't know what to do is they work the kids' hind ends off. I realized that I'm not teaching these guys anything; I'm just working them to death.

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by Jacob Unruh
Reporter
Jacob Unruh is a graduate of Northeastern State University. He was born in Cherokee and raised near Vera where he attended Caney Valley High School.During his tenure at NSU, Unruh wrote for The Northeastern (NSU's student newspaper), the...
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