By River Mitchell
Former men’s basketball coach Charlie Brock, who is one of the most renowned members of the Springfield College community, was announced as the Larry Smith award winner.
The Larry Smith award is bestowed by The Small College Basketball Organization to someone who has made contributions to society off the court through the game of basketball. Larry Smith was a standout college basketball player at Suffolk University. After his playing career, he used his education and lessons learned through athletics to contribute to the greater good of society. This included giving money to small colleges, and contributing to The Small College Basketball Organization.
Brock was contacted by John McCarthy, the founder of the organization, who informed him that he was being honored with the award.
For Brock, the fact that he was associated with Smith was a huge honor for him.
“I was absolutely floored,” Brock said. “I pale in comparison to the things that he has done. It’s an amazing honor.”
During the 24 years that Brock was at the helm of the men’s basketball program, he did numerous things to help out the college basketball community such as being a part of NCAA and National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) committees, NABC Board of Director, President and more.
Many faculty on campus believe that he is well deserving of this title, alluding to his impact within the basketball community.
“Coach Brock exemplified our Humanics philosophy,” said Executive Director of Athletics, Craig Poisson. “The leadership and service to others was demonstrated through his role, continuously during his 24 years on campus.”
When Brock graduated from Springfield in 1976, he left Massachusetts and headed up to Maine for about a year where he did a variety of jobs including bartending, construction and waiting tables. Then, in 1977, he got a call from head coach Ed Bilik that would change the course of his life eternally.
Bilik, who coached Brock while he played at Springfield, wanted him to come back to Springfield to be his assistant coach and get his masters degree.
“He started me [in coaching],” Brock said. “The only reason I got into coaching was because he told me to come back and go to work for him.”
After he graduated, Brock left Springfield for 18 years where he coached at Drew University, Gustavus Adolphus College and Trinity University before returning to Springfield, where he led the men’s basketball team from 1998 until 2022.
“Living the way that he did throughout his basketball career of 42 years, but 24 of it here on Alden street, there was plenty of evidence to support that he was a worthy finalist for this award,” Poisson said. “I was delighted to see him receive it.”
Looking back on his illustrious career at Springfield, Brock looks back on his career with lots of positive memories all around. But at the end of the day, Brock is extremely content with where his life has taken him.
“The time was good,” Brock said. “I am very much at peace.”
Photo Courtesy of Springfield Athletics.