Long-time Spartan basketball fixture Larry Vickers enters his first season as the head women’s basketball coach at Norfolk State University. Vickers served as interim head coach of the NSU women for the final 11 games of last season and led the team to its only three victories of the season, leading to him being named to the permanent head coach post following the campaign.
Prior to taking over the women’s program, Vickers spent eight seasons as an assistant coach with the Norfolk State men’s basketball program, including the last three as the associate head coach. Vickers also held the title of recruiting coordinator for the program.
The Spartan men’s basketball team made all five of its Division I postseason appearances to date with Vickers on the bench. The Spartans played in the last three CollegeInsider.com tournaments, the 2013 NIT and the 2012 NCAA Tournament. The Spartans also advanced to the semifinals of the MEAC Tournament six times during Vickers’ eight years coaching in the program.
Vickers was on staff in 2011-12 during NSU’s most successful Division I season. The Spartans entered the MEAC tournament as the No. 2 seed and finished the week with their first-ever conference title. That of course was followed by perhaps the greatest moment in the history of Norfolk State athletics, an upset of No. 2 seed and No. 3-ranked Missouri in the NCAA Tournament.
The Spartans, meanwhile, followed up that 2011-12 season with another strong campaign in 2012-13. Despite losing four of five starters from the previous year, NSU returned to capture the regular season MEAC title in 2013 with a perfect 16-0 mark, just the fourth perfect season in MEAC history. Norfolk State was also one of just three schools nationally to finish undefeated in conference play.
The Spartans earned the league’s automatic bid to the NIT by winning the regular season title. NSU finished 21-12 overall, marking the second of three straight 20-win seasons for the program.
Norfolk State had an all-conference forward or center the last seven years, including Kyle O’Quinn in 2009-10 (second team) and 2010-11 and 2011-12 (first team), Rob Johnson (third team) and RaShid Gaston (all-rookie team) in 2012-13, Brandon Goode (third team) in 2013-14, Jordan Butler in 2014-15 and Alex Long in 2015-16 (all-rookie). O’Quinn was a two-time MEAC Defensive Player of the Year and the 2011-12 MEAC Player of the Year before being selected in the second round of the 2012 NBA Draft.
During his first five years as an assistant coach, Vickers served as the program’s primary defensive coach. The Spartans ranked in the top four in the MEAC in blocked shots three straight years as well as third in 3-point field goal defense for two straight seasons. NSU also led the MEAC in blocks in 2014-15.
Vickers also played a key part in NSU’s improved academic performance and APR turnaround. In 2010, the program was recognized for improving its APR score by 129 points during a three-year period, and in 2011 the Spartans were recognized by Fox Sports for having the 11th-best APR improvement.
Vickers handled all travel and served as the compliance liaison, the film exchange coordinator and the director of camps for the Spartan basketball program during his first years with the program.
During his first season on staff, Vickers helped the Spartans advance to the MEAC Tournament championship game for the first time in program history. At the 2011 tournament, NSU advanced to the semifinals for the third time in four years. Of course, that was followed up by NSU’s best season ever in 2011-12, a 26-10 campaign and a MEAC championship.
The 6-9 Vickers walked onto the NSU team during the 2004-05 season. He quickly earned playing time and was a noted defensive player during his career with the Spartans. A two-time member of the MEAC Commissioner’s All-Academic Team, Vickers was named the Spartans’ Most Improved Player as a sophomore in 2005-06 and was also a team captain.
Vickers earned his bachelor’s degree in electronic technology in 2007. He has taken courses toward his master’s in urban education at NSU. He graduated from Ocean Lakes High School in Virginia Beach.
Vickers is the proud father of three-year-old Elle Christian Vickers.