Wayne Larker's love of baseball was a birthright, and after 35 years as Coastal Alabama Community College's head baseball coach, it's how his legacy. In high school, he was part of a state championship team, and would later realize a lifelong dream of playing professional baseball before he turned to a career in coaching.
Born in Cuba, Larker is the son of a career professional baseball player, growing up in St. Petersburg, Fla., and Long Beach, Ca. A leftie, he played first base at Long Beach City College before earning a spot on the Idaho Falls Angels, a farm team of the Los Angeles Angels Major League Baseball team.
The roots of Larker's coaching style reach back to the guidance and experiences his father shared, but he also learned a tremendous amount from his high school and junior college coaches in California. He says his dad taught him the game, and Long Beach City College Coach Bob Myers taught him how to enjoy it.
And then Larker played for the legendary Eddie Stanky at the University of South Alabama, who taught him how to play the game with a lot of intensity. At Idaho Falls, he played under first-time manager Joe Maddon, who would go on to lead MLB's Chicago Cubs to their first World Series title in over a century.
In 1983, Larker was hired to be a Faulkner State Sun Chiefs assistant coach, and dorm director. Soon after, he would ascend to the head coaching position, winning his first game in 1985. The Sun Chiefs would go on to win five Alabama Community Collage Conference state championships, and in 2010 Larker took the Sun Chiefs to Colorado for its debut in the Junior College World Series, where it opened with a decisive victory against Temple College of Texas.
In 2008, he was inducted into the Alabama Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
He coached the Sun Chiefs baseball team from 1983-2018. In 2016, he was named Coastal Alabama Community College's athletic director, following in the footsteps of the college's longtime head basketball coach Jack Robertson.
An avid fisherman, Larker owns a home in North Carolina near a stream he frequently fishes, and travels the country for recreation — often with many of his former players. He dives for lobster in south Florida with them, fishes the rivers of Montana with them, and often babysits their children, which is testament to the connection he shares with those he coached.