Larry Ray Ireland, son of Kenneth and Viola (Rames) Ireland was born February 21, 1946 in Scotland, SD. Larry grew up on the family farm, attended one-room Bon Homme County School and was a member of the United Methodist Church. In high school he was named to first team All-State honors in football and basketball. After graduating from Scotland High School in 1964, Larry was recruited to play football at Yankton College in Yankton, SD. At Yankton College he earned All-Conference honors for three years as a defensive halfback and graduated in 1968. Larry received his Master’s degree in Education from the University of South Dakota and was a graduate assistant for the 1968-69 Coyote football team. Larry married Charlene Payne in 1968 and had two children Jay and Jacki.
Larry began his teaching and coaching career in Pierre, and later taught in Gregory, Hot Springs and Mitchell, SD. His coaching highlight was when the 1974 Hot Springs Bison football team was undefeated conference champions. Larry was named SD High School Football Coach of the Year. Larry remarried Sandy Bietz in 1979 and had three children Jill, Jake and Josh. Larry continued coaching football at Augustana College and then at South Dakota State University 1981-88. While at SDSU, Larry taught Fishing Techniques a favorite elective for many Jackrabbit students. Larry returned to his farming roots joining seed companies Keltgen Seed, Mycogen and Midwest Seed Company.
Larry was an avid outdoorsman. Hunting and fishing were instrumental in Larry’s life as he made many lifelong friends out on the lake and in the field. Larry was happiest out on a hunt or with a fishing rod in his hands with family or good friends by his side. The nickname “Coach” was a source of joy for Larry and he took great pride in his coaching accomplishments. Many of his former players, teammates and coaches became lifelong friends and an important part of Larry’s life. The past few years were at times challenging for Larry with his increasing health problems. Particularly difficult for Larry was being quarantined from everything and everyone he loved. However, Larry never got down on himself and kept an ever positive attitude. And as Larry’s health problems continued to increase, so too did his unwavering love for his siblings, children and grandchildren.
Larry “Coach” Ireland, age 74, died Thursday, May 21, 2020 at Ava House in Sioux Falls, SD.
He is survived by his five children: son Jay Ireland of Phoenix, AZ; daughter Jacki Ireland of Phoenix, AZ; daughter Jill Ireland of Dell Rapids, SD; son Jacob Ireland of Spencer, IA; and son Joshua Ireland of Jackson, MN; eight grandchildren: Jack, Isabella, Aiden, Andrew (Ireland); Sophia and Idan (Jones); Pearl and Ruby (Weiland); sister Karen Orth of Loveland, CO; brother Wayne Ireland, of Sioux Falls, SD; sister Mary Mathison of Sioux Falls, SD; and sister Kathy Manning of Vermillion, SD.
He was preceded in death by his second wife Sandra Ireland and his parents.
In lieu of flowers or gifts, the family asks that donations be made to the American Cancer Society.