Although he excelled at basketball at South High along with Hall of Famers Fritz Nagy, Wyndol Gray and Ara Parseghian, Larson made his fame in football. A 1949 graduate of Kent State, Larson launched a coaching career at Twinsburg High, moved to South in 1950 and in '51 succeeded Lou Juillerat as head coach of his alma mater. He guided the 1954 team to the Akron City Series crown and then moved to Marion Harding for four more years. His 1958 powerhouse went undefeated (9-0), was named top team in the state and earned Larson Ohio Coach of the Year honors. Following two years as assistant to Woody Hayes at Ohio State, Larson took over the football program at Akron U. During his 12 seasons (1961-72) Larson's teams compiled a 74-33-5 mark - including seasons of 7-2 (1968), 9-1 ('69), 7-3 ('70) and 8-2 ('71) - which made him the winningest football coach in UA history. His 1968 team established a new milestone by becoming the first team to play in post-season game - the Grantland Rice Bowl.