"When I graduated from ETBU, I thought I would settle into the Dallas area as an athletic trainer, but God directed me home."
Larry Denkins ('08) always wanted to return home to his high school to be an athletic trainer, but not right away. The Lord had other plans.
"When I graduated from ETBU, I thought I would settle into the Dallas area as an athletic trainer, but God directed me home," Denkins said. "I was given the opportunity to take the graduate assistant position here at Pine Tree. After one year as a graduate assistant, I was moved to a full-time athletic trainer. After teaching and training for eight years, I was offered the opportunity to become the Head Athletic Trainer at my high school alma mater."
According to Denkins, his time at ETBU helped shape him, not only as an athletic trainer but as a man of God.
"ETBU taught me many valuable lessons in hard work, determination, selflessness, and, most importantly, opened my eyes in my walk with Christ," Denkins said. "Initially, I felt that it was enough that I was raised in church and believed in God. Thankfully, ETBU helped me see that it is not just about church attendance and living an obedient life. It's about following Christ. The growth in my faith during those four years was valuable in shaping me as a man."
Eleven years after leaving the Hill, Denkins still communicates with his professors and thanks them for their investment in his life.
"My professors pushed me to be the best student athletic trainer I could be while working towards becoming a professional," Denkins said. "Their attention to detail, passion for teaching, and care for the students at ETBU helped motivate me through some tough times in college."
As an alumnus, he looks back on his time at ETBU with great fondness.
"I took away a great experience on campus, professors that I still collaborate with, and spiritual growth that shaped my life. I thank God for my time at East Texas Baptist."