Larry Lavery, in charge of Peoria Central's football program for 27 seasons, won more games (he finished with a 176-109-2 record) than any coach in the history of the school before retiring following the 1998 season.
Lavery took 11 Central teams to the state grid playoffs and finished second in Class 4A in 1988. He won two conference titles and had one undefeated season.
Respected throughout the state, he served as president of the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association and was director of the Greater Peoria Area Football Coaches Association Clinic for ten years.
He is a member of the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame and received the Ray Eliot Service Award from the HSFCA.
He was a standout lineman at the University of Illinois and was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles and Boston Patriots, signing with Boston of the American Football League in 1961.
He wound up the 1961 season as football coach at Galena High School and in 1962 posted a 9-1 mark at Freeport Acquin.
Lavery was assistant coach at Pekin High School for two seasons starting in 1963 and joined the Central staff as line coach in 1965.
Succeeding Dick Jamieson, he became Central's 24th head football coach in 1972. He also served six seasons as head wrestling coach (1965-1971).