If the measure of a man is the impact he has on the lives of those around him, then Larry Honeycutt is a giant.
On Aug. 21, Mount Pleasant High School opened its football season with a home game, and the stands were packed. Of course, a lot of the spectators were there to watch a football game. But all of them were there to honor Honeycutt, former coach, athletic director, teacher and friend to the community, as the football field at Tiger Stadium was named “Larry Honeycutt Field.”
“It couldn’t be happening to a better person,” said principal Jon LaChance.
“It’s special,” said Honeycutt’s son, Stan, recalling long days when coach Honeycutt might mow the field in the morning, teach all day, coach a game, then deliver the highlight film to the local television station that night.
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“I coached a little bit of everything,” Larry Honeycutt said of his years at Mount Pleasant High School. After retiring, he also taught driver’s education, and with his wife, Betty, continues to donate a lot of time and energy to benefiting the community.
Talking with Honeycutt’s former players, you hear stories about conference championships and a chance to win the state crown. But more often, you hear about the kind of man Honeycutt is.
“He was great. Hard and fair,” said Derick Freeman, who graduated in 1983. “You couldn’t ask for anyone better.”
According to Freeman’s classmate Mark Fink, Honeycutt “expected our best on and off the field, on and off season.”
“He’s my favorite coach,” said Warren McClure, who, as the current running back coach for Mount Pleasant, finds himself emulating the style. “He’s a legend in the community.”
“He was a better coach than we were players,” said David Preddy.
“He took a lot of average talent, and made us into competitive teams,” Fink said.
“He had a way of getting our attention and respect,” Freeman said. “You wanted to play for him, and you knew that you had his support.”
“He’s the kind of coach you want your kids to play for,” said Scott Barringer.
“He was a great coach and teacher, but an even better work companion,” said Preddy, who asked Honeycutt to work part-time at Gordon Funeral Home after retiring from the school. “He was always there for me, no matter what my needs.”
That constant, steady presence, coupled with his care and concern for other people, seems to be what makes Larry Honeycutt so special.
“He’s just a friend,” said Neil Shouse, retired principal and fellow coach, explaining that when you go through life’s ups and downs, “you couldn’t ask for anybody better to go through that with. He’s somebody who cares.”
Honeycutt seemed a little overwhelmed with all the attention he received during the ceremony.
“It’s unreal,” he said, adding that he is “humbled” by the field dedication.
Larry Honeycutt is the first thing you think of when you think about Mount Pleasant football, said Derick Freeman. And now the field itself is proof of that.
Marcia Morris is a freelance writer: EasternCabarrusWriter@gmail.com