Sports

An unbreakable bond: Lawrence North’s Larry Rush & ‘The Four Horsemen’

The Four Horsemen – edit

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Larry Rush was never late for a game.

For nearly a decade the retired electrician and grandfather of two found room for a much bigger family. This family didn’t include any blood relatives or next door neighbors. The only common thread? A Lawrence North High School jersey.

This lovable fandom between a community member four plus decades removed from his own high school days and the Wildcats players was contagious. And Rush had company.

Alongside the larger-than-life front man are Quentin Avery, Ernie Long and Larry Davis. 

Once the quartet formed they rarely missed a roadtrip to watch the Lawrence North girls basketball team. Jeffersonville, Fort Wayne, preseason or semi-state showdown — they were making the trip. Along the way, they picked up many nicknames, including “The Four Horsemen,” coined by Lawrence North Athletics Director Mike Penrose.

“If you looked up there (in the stands) you would see the same four guys yelling and screaming,” Davis said. 

“We got away with a lot of stuff as far as those referees were concerned,” Quentin Avery admitted. “I always couldn’t wait for basketball season. It gave us a reason to get out of the house and do something.”

This season turned out to be the best yet. Facing Indiana’s No. 1-ranked team in Class 4A, the undefeated Northwestern Tigers, Lawrence North pulled off an upset victory to claim its first girls basketball state championship in program history. 

One of the Wildcats’ secret weapons? Larry Rush. 

“He was a coach, he was a coach from the stands,” Ernie Young said. “The young girl, senior guard Kristian (Young), her father said he could hear Larry (Rush) all the way in Atlanta hollering ‘defense, defense.'”

Larry watched from the stands at Bankers Life Fieldhouse that evening. Tears in his eyes. His team had done it.

As the coronavirus pandemic halted games across the country in mid-March, Larry suddenly fell ill. 

Soon, doctors learned he had contracted the virus. Within a week pneumonia followed.

Just six days after being admitted to a local hospital, Larry Rush died at the age of 67 due to complications from COVID-19. 

The heartbeat of “The Four Horsemen” was gone.

“I passed the phone to my wife, she read the text and we just broke down and cried,” Davis said.

Like too many other families across the country, the Rush family is struggling to put together a proper goodbye. The “Four Horsemen” plan on honoring their friend next season by keeping his seat open at games.

In turns out one of the final conversations between this group was a voicemail from Larry to his crew — with a simple question — “Did you grab your tickets yet?”

“Like I said, it is a bitter pill to swallow,” Long said.

“I am going to miss him,” Avery said. “That was my brother.”

Save a seat for Larry Rush. If there is a Wildcats game, he will find his way over.

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