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The Apple Doesn't Fall Far From the Coaching Tree
Larry and Joe Messick built a family legacy in Idaho, one steeped in high school athletics
Published: 1/30/2020 10:46:54 AM
Michelle Aoi
Staff Writer

Many coaches have started and ended their long years of coaching in Idaho. 

However, there are few coaches who have accumulated more years of experience than the 63 combined years of Larry and Joe Messick. 

Larry, a 2019 Idaho Sports Hall of Fame inductee, started his 40 years of coaching in Dietrich, Idaho, before moving after two years to Shoshone, where he coached for the next 38. Over those 40 years, Larry coached boys’ basketball, track and volleyball. 

Larry’s coaching influence on his son, Joe, started early. Joe said he remembers spending most of his childhood in the gym with his dad and two siblings, Jim and Becca. That time in the gym later manifested itself into a state basketball championship for the Messick family coaching tree. 

“The biggest influence in becoming a coach was definitely my dad,” Joe said. 

That influence can be seen in Joe’s approach to coaching, where he tries to emulate his dad’s style and philosophy. Larry is often told by spectators and fellow coaches the resemblance between father and son is obvious on the court. But despite the similar strategies, Larry disagrees.

“Personally, I can’t see it,” Larry said.

Joe started coaching at Gooding High School, where he coached for 10 years. For eight of those years, he served as head boys basketball coach, working his way up the ladder from coaching the seventh-grade team. He also coached 10 years of track and two years of volleyball for the Senators. 

Joe then moved to Jerome High School where he’s worked as the head boys basketball coach for the last 13 years.

But despite the accolades, the championships and the honors, both Messicks agreed there’s one thing they value above all else when it comes to coaching.  

“My dad is great at building life-long relationships with his students,” Joe said. “I’ve been very fortunate to be raised in a coaching family. It has definitely shaped who I am today and provided me valuable life lessons. Hopefully, I can continue to pass some of these lessons on to my kids as well as my players.” 

When it comes to passing on the Messick legacy, Joe said he enjoys taking his two children, MaKenzie and Jaycie, to the gym —the same way he was raised, practicing their basketball skills and having fun as a family. MaKenzie and Jaycie are also loyal fans at their dad’s basketball games, both home and away.
Larry and Joe may be the longest Messicks to coach in Idaho, but they are certainly not the only members of the family to lead from the sideline. Both Jim and Becca have also dabbled in coaching, with Jim spending time at Borah High School as a JV basketball coach and Becca working at Twin Falls High Schools as a volleyball coach.

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