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Coach Cordaro & his staff talk during a timeout during the 2016 NAIA Tournament 1st round game vs. SAGU
Coach Cordaro & his staff talk during a timeout during the 2016 NAIA Tournament 1st round game vs. SAGU
Men's Basketball - Tue, Jul. 11, 2017

Alexandria, La. – In 2014, Larry Cordaro was tasked with the unenviable task of being a first year collegiate head coach having to start the program from scratch. To help with the task, he hired the services of assistants Casey Apetrei, Jay Smith, Taylor Smith and Brian Terwilliger to help turn the LSUA basketball team into a winner. Three years, 86 wins and three conference titles later, the Cordaro coaching tree has blossomed all across the area.

In a phrase he reiterates to his players and children who attend one of his many basketball camps, Coach Cordaro lives by the motto of "surround yourself with people who make you a better person". It was a motto he strove to live up to as he assembled his first coaching staff for the 2014 season, leading him to all four of the hires that would not only help grow the program to great success, but continue to grow themselves individually, with three of the four now holding their own head coaching positions.

Brian Terwilliger joined on as a student assistant in that inaugural season of 2014-15, learning the basic fundamentals of coaching, including tailoring the program around the players in it and learning how to be a leader of young men. Shortly after graduating from LSUA, "Coach Twig", as he is affectionately called, was offered and accepted the head coaching job at Holy Savior Menard High School across town in Alexandria, continuing to spread the core values he learned while on LSUA's original staff. And while he may not be with the team currently, he can still be seen regularly patrolling the sidelines of The Fort, cheering on the Generals when his schedule allows.

Taylor Smith transferred over to LSUA from Pearl River Community College, where he was a manager for the Wildcats, assuming a similar role with the Generals. During this most recent season, he was promoted from manager to assistant coach. Shortly after season's end, he received his degree and was offered the position of head boy's basketball coach at University Academy, a high school on the LSUA campus. He accepted the position and, while helping mold the lives of young high school boys as their head coach, will still have a role on the LSUA coaching staff, sharing his love and knowledge of the game to young men of both the high school and collegiate level.

Jay Smith joined the Generals from the high school ranks, coming to LSUA from Comeaux High School where he led the Spartans to six straight winning seasons. Smith's abilities in player development drew Cordaro's attention as he molded together his first coaching staff, and when offered a chance to live his lifelong dream of being a collegiate basketball coach, Smith jumped at the chance. In his three seasons on the LSUA staff, Smith far surpassed the expectations set upon him by Cordaro. One of Smith's favored teaching methods was something referred to as "working in the lab", where he took a player who was either struggling, or just wanted to work on an aspect of his game, and help make the adjustments to develop that particular skill. Smith continues to live his dream as a college basketball coach, as he recently took the head coaching job at LSUA's conference-foe Wiley College, meaning the Generals will continue to see a lot of Coach Smith in the coming seasons.

Associate head coach Casey Apetrei remains at Coach Cordaro's side, serving as his right hand man as the Generals continue their push to claim the program's first ever NAIA National Championship.

"These men have given me their time, effort, knowledge and talents," said head coach Larry Cordaro. "It is because of them that we have reached the heights we have so far, and we know we will continue to go higher."

With great success comes great challenges, as Coach Cordaro will retool his coaching staff for the 2017-18 season as the Generals fight for their fourth straight RRAC Championship and trip to Kansas City for the NAIA National Championship Tournament, giving him the ability to further grow the coaching tree that has taken root at LSUA.