Don't Miss

App State greats – Larry Hand

You da manA semi-regular feature in which we spotlight an App State star from back in the day who many fans may not remember, but should know.

NAME: Larry Hand

POSITION: Defensive tackle

WHY HE’S A GREAT: A two-time NAIA All-American (1st team as senior), and one of only four football players to have jersey retired at App State. (No. 71)

IN THE NFL: Hand was drafted in 1964 by Detroit in the 10th round with the 94th pick. He played 13 seasons, all with the Lions.

PRO STATS: He appeared in 164 games, starting 18. He played at least 10 games a season, with the exception of 1968 (Just one game due to knee injury). He nabbed 5 career interceptions, the first three of which he returned for touchdowns. The last he ran back 62 yards in a 41-24 beating of Cleveland.

HE’S A BRICK! ….. HOUSE! (BUILDER): Prior to coming to Boone, Hand was working as a mason in Butler, New Jersey.

PT IS OVERRATED: Hand never played varsity ball in high school, just JV. He also missed his freshman season at App due to injury. He was all-conference in his three other collegiate seasons.

PRETTY BOY: The Toledo Blade had a major crush, once describing Hand as – “the handsome defensive end who gets in the hair spray ads occasionally nowadays.”

DEMAND > SUPPLY: Hand is the only Mountaineer to ever be drafted twice. He was also selected in the 21st round of the 1964 AFL draft by the NY Jets.

LION AROUND: Hand’s 13 years with the Lions is the third-longest tenure of any player with the franchise. His 164 career games is 11th most in franchise history.

KING OF THE KINGS: Hand was named Lions’ defensive MVP in 1972.

CAT ON A FLAT TIN CAN: History is yours, for a price.

MONDAY NIGHT LIGHTS: During Hand’s playing days the Lions appeared on MNF several times. One of the more emotional was a November 1 game in 1970 against the Green Bay Packers, in which Hand forced a fumble that was recovered for an early TD. It was Detroit’s first game after the death of receiver Chuck Hughes, who suffered a heart attack in the closing minutes of a contest versus Chicago.


  1. Go FBS (1-A) NOW

    June 2, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    Was that the game that Howard Cosell made a big deal of Hand telling him to pronounce his alma mater correctly, and he goes on and on about that, then Cosell says Appalachian the wrong way?

  2. Bcoach

    June 2, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    I remember him as a Lion as I lived in Detroit at the time. Not my fault as that is just where my parents lived. Funny thing is that at that time I had never heard of App State. I am much better off now!

  3. Buddy Kirby

    June 2, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    In the old days of NAIA ball by rule there was limited substitution allowed and Larry played both Offensive and Defensive tackle. His Senior year he was named the best offensive tackle at any college in North Carolina.

  4. Rick

    June 2, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    Met Mr Hand at his home in Winston Salem years ago. At the time, I didn't realize his was an App Grad. He was a total gentleman and we told war stories about Mountaineer football for hours. Great ambassador for App, though, at one time, the school did very little to promote him as a great. Nice to see his number retired and that he now gets his due as one the all-time App greats.

  5. DRM

    June 4, 2010 at 7:43 am

    Hand played even before my time at ASU, but from all accounts, and his lengthy career in NFL, he certainly deserved having his number retired.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login