Longtime basketball coach Larry Slater dies at 74

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May 21—Morgan County native Larry Slater, who won 479 games as the women's basketball coach at Wallace State Community College, died Thursday.

Slater, who was 74, died of complications from pneumonia at UAB Hospital in Birmingham. He was inducted into the Morgan County Sports Hall of Fame in 2016.

The Cotaco High graduate coached at Wallace State from 1989-2011. The Lions became a perennial contender for state championship honors. His career record at Wallace was 479-163 with six conference championships and four trips to the junior college national tournament.

Before rising to the college ranks, Slater coached in high school. In 1988, he coached Pell City to the Class 5A state championship game vs. Hartselle. The star player for the Hartselle Tigers that season was Slater's daughter, Jeaniece.

Pell City beat Hartselle, 77-76, in front an overflow crowd at Calhoun Community College. That game helped push the Alabama High School Athletic Association to combine the boys and girls championship games together at one site.

"There's no doubt that game was a launching pad for girls basketball in the state," Slater said in a 2016 interview. "It's amazing how far the girls game has come. I've seen things happen that I never could have imagined."

Slater's youngest daughter, Terrie Nelson, is the girls coach at Priceville.

david.elwell@decaturdaily.com or 256-340-2395. Twitter @DD_DavidElwell.

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