At an early age, Larry Isaac knew that working in the cotton fields would not be his plight in life. The baby boy and number 10 of 11 children, he began picking and chopping cotton while in elementary school. "Every morning me and other family members would catch the big truck at 4 a.m. and return around 5 p.m." Larry jokingly stated, that he and his cousin, Archie got fired a lot. "We chopped too much cotton and not the weeds." Although the pay was enough to buy clothes for school and the 4th of July, Larry stated, "I decided then, that cotton was not going to be the plan."
Larry Isaac is a 1973 graduate of Estacado High School. He went on to play football at Texas Tech on a football scholarship. Once his football eligibility ended, the All-American and Hall of Famer Tailback, pursued a professional career, and played in the CFL (Canadian Football League) Saskatchewan, as well as a preseason stint with the Oakland Raiders. More importantly, he made good on his promise to his mother to graduate from college. A first generation college student, Larry Isaac, earned a Bachelor of Science in Recreation from Texas Tech University in 1987.
There were many who impacted his life while attending Iles Elementary, Bozeman Elementary, and Alderson Junior High. "Mr. Priestly and Mr. Chapman both instilled discipline. When they corrected students, we were taught lessons about the facts of life. Also, Coach G.Q. Nell and Orval Fox also really had a big impact on my character and got me involved in athletics. They were white coaches, but taught me how to compete," Isaac stated.
Most of Larry Isaac's career has been spent working in the community. Upon returning to Lubbock, Isaac was employed by the City of Lubbock (Parks and Recreation), at Copper Rawlings Community Center, where he worked as an Assistant Supervisor for 6 years. He then went on to work at Mae Simmons Community Center for 7 years. When asked about his commitment to the community, Isaac emphatically responded, "I'm just trying to make a difference with the kids in the community. I try to help my community. This is my community. This is my school."
Larry is now employed by Lubbock Independent School District and works at his alma mater as a Parent Liaison. In his 15th year, at Estacado High School, Isaac initially returned to EHS because he wanted to be a coach. With the same commitment instilled by former teachers and coaches, Isaac coached 6 years of football, basketball, and track and field. His role now includes working with students and families to bridge communication between the school and family, as well as provide support to foster academic and social success.
The father of 3 children, Larry tragically lost his 29 year old son who was shot in the back of the head on July 8, 2004. Larry Isaac, Jr. passed away on August 27, 2004. "He was saying he was going to get out of the gang." Harboring no anger or malice in his heart, Isaac stated, "I went to the trial every day." A mentor for many young men and women, Isaac uses his son's story to reach young people. "I try to let them know that nothing good will come out of the gang."
Recognizing that working in the cotton field or obtaining a menial job was not a long term goal, Isaac knows that staying in college had a big impact on his outcome. "If I could tell young adults one thing, it would be to have a plan for your life and future. Do whatever it takes to get it done." Isaac added, "The biggest challenge I had was getting adjusted to college life." Although, the college terrain did not always prove to be easy for Larry Isaac, the path may have been more difficult without his will and determination to graduate. In Larry Isaac's case, later was better than never.
The VOICE Project is a community outreach program of the East Lubbock Promise Neighborhood that strives to capture and share authentic and inspiring stories of faith, hope and service.
The East Lubbock Promise Neighborhood is an US Department of Education funded initiative committed to working with the residents of East Lubbock, Texas to support and advocate for our children – ensuring that both children and parents have access to the resources they need to grow, learn and succeed.
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