Fox ready to bring ‘blue-collar toughness’ back to Strasburg’s boys hoops program
STRASBURG – Larry Fox has worked his way up through the coaching pedestal in Strasburg High School’s boys basketball program. Now he’s the Rams’ head man.
Fox, who coached the middle school program for a couple years and spent one season coaching Strasburg’s junior varsity boys basketball team last year, was approved as the Rams’ new varsity boys basketball coach at the Shenandoah County School Board meeting on Oct. 12.
“I’m very excited,” Fox, a Front Royal native and current Strasburg resident, said Thursday evening. “It’s a great opportunity to really more or less represent our town, represent our community. The town takes a lot of pride in the students, the athletics, really. It’s just a great opportunity and I’ve grown up playing the sport. The coaches that have coached me have really taught me a lot, so it’s a blessing to give back to the sport.”
The 42-year-old Fox replaces one-and-done coach Hamilton Doyle, who led the Rams to a 3-20 record in his only season with the team in 2016-17.
Doyle introduced a fast-paced style to the program when he was brought on to replace former Rams coach and current athletic director Matt Hiserman, but longtime fans of Strasburg basketball will see a familiar team this winter. Fox said he plans to instill the “blue-collar toughness” that was cultivated in the program under former longtime head coach Millson French and continued by Hiserman.
In addition to his experience within Strasburg’s boys basketball program, Fox got his start as an assistant coach at Warren County and Skyline high schools under Sonny Dyke, who played for French at Strasburg.
“Larry knows what our expectations are, what we look for, what we want out of our coaches,” Hiserman said, adding that Fox would add his own “twists” to Strasburg’s traditional style of play.
“We’ve talked a lot about what his plans are, what he’s wanting to do and he’s obviously wanting to get it back to the styles that we used to play that made us pretty successful. Kind of concentrate on man-to-man defense, which has kind of been a staple of our program for 30-some years.”
Fox, a 1993 Warren County High School graduate, also played for former longtime Wildcats head coach Jim Moose and said Moose was a “huge influence on me.”
“He just instilled a real mental and physical toughness in you that I guess an old-school type of coach, probably like a Coach French here, would. The same type of coach where they would really get after you and really demand a lot of toughness out of you both mentally and physically,” Fox said of Moose. “But I tell you what, he gave you a lot of tough love and (was) just a really, really good coach.”
Fox’s familiarity with Strasburg’s program is a major plus, Hiserman said, one that should ease the transition this winter. Fox said this year’s seniors are the same group of players he coached in his first season with the middle school program.
“The kids have been pretty open. … I think they kind of wanted me to apply for (the job), to be honest with you,” Fox said.
Fox’s official appointment came just three weeks before winter tryouts begin on Monday, but Hiserman said the hiring was in place in early September and just needed School Board approval. Hiserman said he expects the boys basketball program to regain some coaching stability with Fox at the helm.
“He wants to be there,” Hiserman said. “He’s obviously been here for three years and he’s been living here for a while. I know he’s got a son in the program but I think even after that his plans are to kind of stay involved in the program.”
Fox, who said Jalen Doman, a 2012 Strasburg graduate, will serve as his JV coach this year, has already been working with some of the Rams’ basketball players this fall during open gym.
“We’ve probably had 15, 20 kids on a daily basis, which is a pretty good turnout not having any football guys in there,” Fox said. “They’ve really been getting after it pretty good. … Good feel. I like the vibes that we have. They’ve really been getting after it, so I’m looking forward to getting after it, really.”
Strasburg opens its regular season on Nov. 28 at Page County.