Throughout the history of the Havre High football program, the Blue Ponies have seen countless players and coaches take the field. There always comes a time to say goodbye to those players and coaches, and unfortunately, that goodbye comes too soon and unexpectedly.
Larry Douglas Stranahan, 63, passed away unexpectedly Wednesday, July 18, 2012, in Mongolia. Stranahan was said to have loved traveling the globe, and visited six continents in the midst of his longtime coaching and teaching careers. Stranahan coached the Blue Ponies from 1972-1978, in a time where the Ponies were battling it out in the Eastern AA.
While coaching the Ponies in Havre, Stranahan did have a highlight season. In 1977, he led the Ponies to the Class AA state championship game after claiming the Eastern AA divisional title. It was a milestone win for Stranahan, but he and the HHS squad fell to Butte in the state title game, losing 28-6.
The Ponies fought to keep up with the bigger AA squads, but Stranahan coached the team well, and kept the talented Ponies competitive. And some of Stranahan’s players are still in the Havre area, including Dave Cobb, Bob Evans, and Dave Hergesheimer.
Stranahan graduated from Sentinel High School in 1966 and the University of Montana in 1971, earning a bachelor of science degree in zoology/education. Stranahan later earned a master’s in school administration from the University of Montana. And From 1968 through 1970 he played defensive lineman for the Montana Grizzlies. In 1969 and 1970 they were the Big Sky Champions and finalists in the Camellia Bowl. In 2010 these teams were inducted into the Grizzly Hall of Fame.
Stranahan’s teaching and coaching also took him to Missoula Hellgate, Colorado State University, University of Montana, Helena High, Grants Pass (Ore.), Mead (Wash.) and Spokane High (Wash.). In 2003 he retired from coaching, but was set to return to the field to coach the Spokane Wildcats this year.