Getting to know Hall coach Logan Larson

New Red Devils coach attracted to Hall’s tradition and community school

Hall football coach Logan Larson coaches his team during practice on Tuesday, July 9, 2024 at Hall High School. Larson grew up in Springfield and played his first two years of high school at Sacred Heart-Griffin before playing his final two years at Pleasant Plains. He played his freshman year of college at Bowling Green State University. then transferred to SEMO after a coaching change. After college, he coached at Springfield Southeast for three years and spent the last three years at Athens. Larson was the offensive and defensive line coach and special teams coordinator for Athens.

Logan Larson is taking over as the Hall Red Devils football coach, succeeding Randy Tieman, who retired after two years in his second stint as head coach.

Larson comes to Hall after serving as an assistant coach for Class 2A runner-up Athens.

BCR Sports Editor Kevin Hieronymus of Friday Night Drive visited with Larson on his new adventure, talking about his family ties to the Illinois Valley, his playing career in high school and college, previous coaching experiences and landing his first head coaching job at Hall.

FND: Can you tell me a little about yourself and family?

Larson: I just turned 30. I’m single, an only child. My dad played at Ball State (University) after IVCC. Mom is a big football person. She actually wanted me to play before my dad did. Starting in first grade, she said, ‘No, he’s going to play football.’ So my family’s been full football supporters and they absolutely love it. And they’ll be at every single game, too.

FND: What made you most interested in coming to Hall High school?

Larson: I think the tradition that was already there and being a community school. I’ve been in bigger cities at Springfield Southeast where we have three different high schools. I think it’s a little harder to build that community support in a situation like that. There’s traditions with the state championships and quarterfinals and all that stuff and building on that tradition. Really the co-op, too. Being able to play 4A football is pretty big football. It’s a step up for me being a head coach and step up from where I had been at Athens. Kind of a combination of the three. Having the Friday Night Lights and having the community showing up in support of you.

FND: I understand you have some ties to the Illinois Valley.

Larson: A little bit. My dad (Jeff) played at IVCC, I guess 81-82, somewhere around there. He lived in Spring Valley his freshmen year. When I came up here it was the first I’ve been up here and first time I’ve seen the L-P stadium where IVCC played. So, yeah, it’s pretty cool to get back up there. I know my dad has enjoyed it coming up to visit.

Logan Larson

FND: What kind of things have you learned about the Hall kids?

Larson: That first week I was already moved up and I was able to spend time with those guys three or four days just to get to talk to them. Then our first week of June, I did individual meetings continuing to build that relationship and getting to know the guys and learn what they think and feel about football and the program. Some of the things they like and wanted to see changed. We got to do a little combine, testing on that Thursday. Now we’ve been doing some speed and conditioning and weight room.

FND: The last several coaches have been Hall alumni. What will be it like for you coming in from the outside?

Larson: I think it’s good to maybe bring an outside perspective in. I actually spent two hours talking with coach Tieman. He’s been around, worked his way up from the JFL and became the coach and had some success. Did it in two stints, too. Just learned the traditions and what he saw from the community and program and maybe some things he felt needed to be built on as well. Got really good perspective from him. I’ve talked to Mr. Bryant (Hall athletic director Eric), he played on the team, played three sports. His dad was a coach, too. Him kind of filling me in on some stuff, too. Really, just building on their tradition. There hasn’t been the huge success (recently) they’ve had in the past. So kind of figuring out how we revamp it a little bit to get back to that.

FND: Have you settled in on an offense you’ll run?

Larson: A little bit. Don’t want to give out any secrets. The nice thing for Week 1, no one really knows. So yes and no.

FND: How will you use your success as an assistant coach and player to help you out on your first job as head coach?

Larson: I think every coach steals from other coaches. I’ve been lucky to be around a lot of great coaches as a coach and a player. This is something I wanted to do since I was little. I was around the Sacred Heart-Griffin program and (coach) Ken Leonard pretty much my whole coming up of football. I had some really great college coaches, too. Guys who are literally at the highest level of college football and some guys have gone on to the NFL. Just take bits and pieces of stuff, whether it’s character development or football offense and defense side. Just take a look little things I’ve liked since I started being around this. Kind of mold my own philosophy of things I believe in. It’s kind of ever changing as you meet new guys and learn new things. I’ve been in these guys shoes as a player. As seniors, we were 2-7 my junior year and had a new coach come in June for my senior year and we were really successful and ended up going 9-2 and won the first playoff game in school history. I’ve literally been in those guys shoes and kind of work them through that process.

FND: What high school did you play at?

Larson: So, I went to Sacred Heart-Griffin my freshman and sophomore years and I graduated from Pleasant Plains (in 2013) and played there my junior and senior years. I played basketball for Cliff Cameron. He’s a Hall of Fame coach. His son, Michael, who is now the basketball coach at Jacksonville, and I are best friends. We grew up together. They literally lived around the corner from us. So, since the fourth grade, Cliff was coaching me and so got to spend a lot of time with him and basketball was a huge part of my life growing up.

FND: You had a great run down at Athens. What was that like taking part in that and what made them so successful?

Larson: Pleasant Plains and Athens started up their football programs right around the same time. Pleasant Plains (2002) and I want to say 2006 at Athens. I kind of saw that program grow up really, really fast. As an outsider, I wasn’t an Athens person. I really saw that program grow. I watched the highlights and stuff when I was in college and kind of saw them make that jump. It was, now they’re winning playoff games and now they’re in the quarterfinals. And they had a couple of semifinal appearances before I got there. When coach (Ryan Knox) called me to be a part of that staff, it was something I was excited about. Kind of the same instance here. I was one of the few non-Athens people on staff. So kind of being a new guy there, I just wanted to bring in my own philosophy. Maybe get over that semifinal hump a little bit. We started talking about what we wanted to do at a state level and that’s kind of what we were able to do over the last three years. You don’t get there without super talented kids and great kids. It was really cool to see that program build over time and be a part of that and finally get there.

Logan Larson suiting up for Southeast Missouri State.

FND: What are some of your best memories playing in high school and college?

Larson: I think the best thing about high school is playing with your friends that you literally grew up playing with. I know for me, we had a really tight group of seniors. Lot of us grew up playing together starting in first grade. We were the first team to win a playoff game in our school history. So that was really special. We had some really great experiences in basketball, too. But there’s something really special about football. You only get those nine games, nine opportunities to go play. College you play so many people that are similar skilled. You’re not ‘the guy’ like you are in high school. That was kind of my role. I played tight end. I blocked a lot. Didn’t get a whole lot of catches, but I got to play and start. My freshman year at Bowling Green we won the conference. I didn’t play, I redshirted. But it was something I got to be a part of. I wear my ring for winning conference. That’s always kind of the goal. You want to go get a ring, you want to play for those championships. Then at SEMO (Southeast Missouri State), it was just playing. It was a better fit for me. There was a lot more small-town guys down there at SEMO. We did some good things. My first year, we beat the No. 3 team in the country, Southeast Louisiana. Eastern Illinois was ranked at the time for one year. We beat them. And we got to play those big-money games. Got to go to Kansas, got to play at Mizzou. Just the whole thing is a blessing.