Shortly before the start of his 36th season as coach of Waterville girls varsity basketball, Larry Stockwell received the diagnosis that he had bladder cancer.
During the season the Clinton resident balanced treatments of immunotherapy, his part-time teaching advanced math at Waterville High School and the typically hectic basketball schedule that saw the Indians win 15 of their 22 games. While he sometimes had his longtime assistants Jim Gavett and junior varsity coach Jeremy Kraeger handle some of the rigors of practices, Stockwell coached all 22 of those games.
“I was tired,’’ he said recently, “pretty much all the time. It took a lot out of me, but then again coaching kept me pushing to get through it.’’
As this season starts Stockwell has a couple of months reprieve until the next round of treatments in March. By then, he will resume his progress to get back to 100 percent health as one of only three girls basketball coaches in Section Three history to win 500 games.
“Longevity,’’ Stockwell joked, “and surviving everything that comes with coaching. I still love coaching, love these girls and they are the ones who win the games.’
Longevity, yes, but as Stockwell marches toward the milestone - entering this week he is at 494 wins and could reach 500 as early as Jan. 21 at Weedsport - the winning comes because he has built a consistently winning program. His 37 years that includes starting as coach of the…