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Larry Kerychuk- A Canadian Football Star

It's Time to Man Up! / Nikita Koloff
The Truth Network Radio
May 14, 2022 1:00 am

Larry Kerychuk- A Canadian Football Star

It's Time to Man Up! / Nikita Koloff

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May 14, 2022 1:00 am

Today's episode features Nikita on the phone with good friend and former Canadian football player Larry Kerychuk. Listen as he describes God's path for him in the world of professional sports.

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This is the Truth Network. Ladies and gentlemen, the following contest is set for one flaw. Introducing first, from Lithuania, he weighs 123 kilos, The Russian Nightmare, Nikita Kolov. Now, The Devil's Nightmare. Welcome back to another episode of It's Time to Man Up. Welcome back to another episode. It's time to, you know what, man up with Nikita Kolov here, formerly The Russian Nightmare, now The Devil's Nightmare, and I just want to say welcome, welcome, welcome to our audience today, and I have such a special guest with me today, as I feel I do each and every week. Every guest is special in their own way, but today, coming live with us from Phoenix, Arizona, the man himself, Larry Karachuk. Larry, great to have you on the Man Up show. Nikita, I appreciate it. Thank you so much for having me. Well, I appreciate you, and I am going to give a shout out to your lovely bride, Miss Wendy, and maybe next time, or sometime, we'll get to have her on the show give a woman's perspective of men, but all that said, it's always great to have you, and our history, and our history, Larry, goes way, way back quite a few years, but for our listeners, why don't you give them a quick backdrop on Larry Karachuk, like old Canada? I mean, just give us a backdrop there, Larry.

Yeah, there's quite a background. In fact, today's my birthday. I'm 75 today. I can't believe it.

Come on! Happy birthday to you. I marvel how quickly time has passed. Happy birthday to you. I'm in my office here, and I'm looking, and my office is kind of a history of my life in a way, and the amazing impact that Athletes International has had on so many athletes, and I'm just so blessed, really, because I was raised in a very godly home. My mom and dad immigrated from Russia, Ukraine, Russia, Poland.

I'm not sure where they exactly came from. Hey, we could be related, Larry. We could be related.

Well, maybe not. Oh, we're related. You're right. The Russian nightmare. I know. Wouldn't that be something with our Cossack relatives?

That's right. We might have some Cossack relatives. I'm sorry.

Keep going. So you migrated from Russia. I knew I loved you for some reason, so come on. So, all right, so Larry, just give us a little quick backdrop on your migration from, I guess, we could be related, Larry, because I think you have some Russian in your background, right? So we could be related, but give our listeners, our audience, just a little backdrop on Larry Kerichuk.

Okay. Well, yeah, my parents and, you know, all of my, on both sides of the family, immigrated to Canada from Russia, different parts of Poland and Ukraine. We're kind of all mixed up, but Kerichuk is a Ukrainian name. And back just before the depressions, when they moved here, my grandfather, my mother's side of the family, was a preacher, and he started churches all over Western Canada, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and just a circuit riding preacher, and nine kids at home. My parents, when they got here, they just had a little log cabin, and that's how they came to Christ, too, because he was traveling, and he's encountered my parents, my grandparents, and my mom and dad. My mom, of course, was on my grandfather, Herzayek, which was the guy from Russia.

But anyway, a long story short, that's my history and legacy. It's really been ministry in my family. My brother, sister, their ministers, my dad, my uncle, and then on the other side of the family, my mother's side, there's three uncles that were pro-athletes. They were incredible athletes.

And Cornell Piper, especially, is in the Hall of Fame, played for Bud Grant, four or five Grey Cups. Amazing, amazing athletes, and they really had a major impression on my life, because ministry was the last thing I was ever dreamt thinking of doing. I wanted to play in the stadium down the road.

That was my child's ambition, and it came to pass. Yeah, you have. So, all right, so let me, so you got the migration from, which is pretty cool, seriously, for me, you know, being the Russian nightmare without a Russian bone in me, you know, but I got to... Well, you sure look at, though, you look more Russian than most Russians I know. I've heard, you don't know how many times I've heard that, like, wow, you...

True, brother. Yeah, well, I... That look on your face, man, holy crap. Oh, that's awesome. Well, and that's, I mean, what a legacy, though, Larry, what a legacy of...

It's amazing, it really is. Of generational, I mean, so the migration into Canada, and then just the ministry, the rich history of ministry in your family and previous generations that, as you said, had a profound impact on you. And I do want to talk about, you know, your sports career, of course, because that in itself... And by the way, the name Bud Grant does... Ding, ding, ding, ring a bell with me, because being a Minnesota native and a Bud Grant, you know, Minnesota Vikings and coaching them. And there's another connection there, too, Larry, a guy by the name of Dave Scrine.

You're listening to The Truth Network and Who is actually a... Dave Scrine. Yeah. One of my coaches.

Huh? He coached me in Edmonton with the Eskimos. They were called the Eskimos back then. The Edmonton Eskimos. Stupid reason.

Political reason. For some reason... And then I played against him at Idaho State. I was quarterback, and he was the coach for Boise State.

And then, of course, he led them to the BC Lions to the Grey Cup with Joe Capp. 1963. Yeah, something like that.

Yeah, somewhere in that area. No, it was... And by the way, let me just share something, because people may not, I think, sometimes have an erroneous perspective on the Canadian football league. Back in the 50s and early 60s, they had the greatest athletes from America.

That was just unbelievable. And because they paid them actually more back then in Canada than the NFL did. And, I mean, there's players that, unfortunately, many people didn't see play in the NFL because they were up in Canada. Leo Lewis, for example, his son played for the Vikings. I don't know if you've heard of him. But Grant said he's the greatest football player that ever lived. He'd never seen a better football player.

He gained seven yards of carry up in Canada. And I was his water boy. When they come to Edmonton, my brother and I had water boy because my uncle played on the team. But one of the highlights of my life was seeing Leo come to the Lord at a conference we had in Phoenix in 1988. And he came up to my mother, and my mom introduced herself. And he looked at her and says, you're Larry Keratuck's mom?

And she said, yes. So I can hardly wait to meet him. It blew my mind when she shared that with me because he was bigger than life. I mean, man, Leo Lewis and Bud Grant himself.

Bud's not going to exaggerate. He said he's the greatest football player he ever coached. Well, and let me interject something here because I guess either had forgotten or not known or just didn't remember that you and I, there's a number of things we have in common.

You know, ministry being one, football being another. But Dave Scrine. So see, my connection to Dave is he became very pivotal in my college football career, Larry, because he coached me in college, in college, at a little Bible college in Golden Valley, Minnesota, called Golden Valley- Bible College, are you kidding me?

So listen to this. Yeah. So Golden Valley Lutheran College, he was our head coach for, I had him as a coach for one year. Well, technically two years.

I was redshirted one year and then what would have been my sophomore year. And see, that's how I know about the countdown to Grey Cup because somewhere I have a copy of his book, 1963, the countdown to the Grey Cup, when he won it. And of course, Bud Grant, I mean, just that's amazing.

He coached you, coached me, and you have all that history with Dave Scrine. That's pretty cool. Yeah, yeah. Very cool. Amazing.

It is. And like, there's like five guys, you know, Dave Scrine being one of them, Bill Burke, because, you know, my dad left when I was three. I had no real male mentorship, so to speak, growing up. Bill Burke, my first football coach. Dave Scrine became a mentor. Jerry McFarland, who was a bodybuilder, a health teacher. Ross Fauci and John Richmond were five of the most instrumental men in my life. Four of the five were football coaches. And so, football made a lasting impact on me. Let me ask you something. If you had to live your life over again, would you have stuck to football or the way you went with wrestling? Well, you know, it's an interesting question.

It really is. Obviously, the wrestling gave me a worldwide platform to do what I'm doing now, which I view as the ultimate call upon my life. But I look at it this way, Larry. If I had been stuck under a helmet with my face guarded by a mask, I feel like a lot fewer people would know who I am and the platform would not be as big or as worldwide as it is.

And so, I don't have any regrets in not pursuing professional football and really view it as God's divine sovereignty and plan for my life. You're listening to the Truth Network and Nikita Koloff here.

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You're listening to the Truth Network and Right. So, but let's go back.

Let's backtrack a little bit, Larry. So, all right. So, just to recap, so your family migrates from the Ukraine and Poland and Russia and come into Canada. And like, why Canada? Why did they settle in Canada instead of America, for example?

I have no idea, really. There was something, they were giving free land, I think, or land that was extremely inexpensive. Okay. I think that's what attracted them to Canada.

Okay. It was kind of like God forsaken land up there where we were raised. I lived on the farm there until I was four. But now it's really something as productive and, you know, beautiful part of Alberta. But it wasn't like that when they moved there during the Depression or before the Depression.

Right. Well, just so you know, in 2017, I did a 21-city tour in 21 days across four provinces of Canada. I had only been prior to that to two of those 21 cities. And so, just to tout to all our Canadian listeners out there and to the Kerichuk family, I loved it. I mean, it was beautiful. It really was. And I went the right time of the year before, like, you know, the grounds got frozen and you couldn't travel across country. Yeah.

That's a wise choice, man. Yeah. So, I went in the summertime. And so, I got to experience, like, Banff, like, the hot springs of Banff and, you know, British Columbia. So, anyway. Yeah.

It's beautiful. You went through the interior of British Columbia to Vancouver, probably, right? Well, we didn't go all the way over to Vancouver. But the four provinces we covered, man, it was... And I'm just... I'm a history guy. I love history. And we went to Al Capone's hideaway in Canada, you know, when he... His underground whiskey tunnel, you know, anyway. So, yeah. A lot of history up there.

And so, you guys migrate to Canada. And so, you said, who became kind of... You had three uncles that became kind of... Three uncles. There was nine in the family that, you know, Grandpa Herzayek, it was his name was Carpert Herzayek. And again, he was like a circuit riding preacher, started churches and just touched the hearts of so many people.

And so, that was way back, again, like I'm saying, depression time right on through to the 40s and 50s. And the uncles, it's interesting, he was in Winnipeg. That's where he had a church.

And my uncles just gravitated to sports. But they got in trouble because they would play on Sunday, junior football in Canada on Sunday. And the people in the church were really upset with him, you know.

Why would you allow them to play on the Lord's Day and blah, blah, blah? And so, they were criticizing the kids, the sons. And so, the eldest one, Peter, Peter, he changed his name to Piper, Peter Piper. And so, it was Peter Piper, Dave Piper, Cornell Piper. Those were the three great athletes. One was an Olympic wrestler, that was Dave. Pete was a boxer, professional boxer. And of course, Cornell, who's the best known of the three, ended up playing for Bud Grant in Winnipeg and played guard and tackle.

Just an incredible, naturally gifted athlete. And he's the one that blocked for Leo Lewis. And he was good. I mean, he was real good. He's in the Hall of Fame, both in the CFL and in Winnipeg. And if it wasn't for him, I wouldn't be sitting here talking to you right now, I guarantee you.

So, they became part of your motivation. So, how fast can you say, Peter Piper picked a peck of pickle peppers, Larry? I said Rowdy Piper because he's from Canada. He is. Rowdy, Rowdy Piper picked a peck of pickle peppers as well.

What's that? I missed what you said, I'm sorry. Well, I just said, you know, we were just joking about Rowdy Piper. Yeah, you mean he wasn't Scottish? Like, kind of like I wasn't Russian, right? Come on, come on. He was from Canada, actually. Well, I know, I know.

The kilt and the whole deal though, right? When he was starting his career and I asked him, did you name your name Piper? Was that from my family, Cornell and Dave and Peter? And he said, no, no, it wasn't, you know. But just had a real nice time with him, fellow Canadian. Yep. And, you know, so that was kind of cool. And by the way, let me throw this in real quick. I just, we met with Ted DiBiase yesterday, Joe Jackson and I. Joe, of course, played with the Vikings and we had a nice time with, and Ted also was football, West Texas State.

He had, but he told me there's, he wasn't good enough to make the NFL, but wrestling was definitely his destiny. You're listening to the Truth Network and Nikita Koloff here and I am excited. Did you hear the huge announcement, the big announcement? Well, maybe it's a minor announcement. Anyway, Facebook, go look up my new fan page, Nikita Koloff fans and like it and follow today.

You're listening to the Truth Network and Yeah, absolutely. He's got a storied career there for sure. And so your uncles become really an inspiration for you because of their athletic background. And so you made a comment, though. You said, I wouldn't be here today talking to you if it wasn't for which one, which uncle? Cornell.

Okay. And how did he impact your life? He impacted me by taking interest in us. He would, when we flew into town from Winnipeg to Edmonton, and that was the biggest show in town back then. The CFL. And that was a great rivalry, Winnipeg and Edmonton.

The stadium, you could hear the stadium from our front yard and the lights and the smoke hovering over the stadium. I mean, that was part of my existence. But to see him, I'd waterboy, I'd watch him. I was in love with the guy.

And he'd come every time he'd be in town, he'd take a cab and come over to our home, spend time with us. And it became, football became an obsession for me, literally. And I'd practice, if kids didn't want to play, I'd be practicing myself, hunting and throwing the ball and doing everything I could. And my ambition was to play in that stadium someday. And fortunately, I was good enough to get a scholarship. And you know, it's interesting, they had a high school camp in Edmonton back then. Neil Armstrong was the head coach. I don't know if you remember the name, I think he coached with Bud Grant for a while up in Minnesota. But Neil Armstrong, they had a camp for college prospects.

And so I was one of about 40 kids. These are the best athletes in the city. And what they want to do is send them down to America, get training, have training at American colleges, and then come back and play in the CFL. And back in those days, the roster was 32 players. 17 were Canadian, 15 American. So once I got the scholarship, I knew I was going to play in the CFL.

There's no doubt in my mind about that. And Neil Armstrong, oh, here's one of the highlights of ministry now. Nikki Cruz was speaking at a Dave Wilkerson crusade.

It was Nikki, I think, and David Wilkerson. And I didn't know it, but I was a little, a counselor then, I was just in high school. But I led Neil Armstrong, son of the Lord. I had no idea it was him, but he pulled me aside. He just said, I want to thank you for something very, very important.

One of the most important things that ever happened in my life is you leading my son to Christ. I want to thank you for that. And that kind of blew me away. I didn't know.

I had no idea. But even back then, God was already preparing me for ministry with athletes and sports ministry. I had no idea that was going to happen because I didn't want to be in ministry. I really didn't want to do what my dad was doing and my uncles and grandfather, you know. Yeah. You want to have a legendary career, like many of us growing up, I can relate when you say, you know, football was, you know, just lived it, ate, slept, breathed it, right.

And I can certainly relate to that. And I do want to make a quick comment too, by the way, on Canada paying better than the NFL, CFL paying better than the NFL, because I played numerous golf tournaments with Roman Gabriel, a legendary NFL quarterback, who said he made peanuts. In fact, a wrestler, Wahoo McDaniel, Wahoo, left the NFL because he made probably 10 times the amount of money in wrestling as he did playing in the NFL.

And he's like, I'm out. Yeah, they were making maybe $12,000 a year. Yeah, not much.

They'd make more in Canada, seriously. And there's guys like, you'd never heard of this guy, Johnny Bright played at Drake. You're listening to the Truth Network and All feet agree. Clemens carpet is where you need to be. With carpet, vinyl, tile, and hardwood from the top brands. Clemens carpet does it right from beginning to install. Voted number one by you in the Reader's Choice Awards. Doug, Chad, Benny, Pee Wee, and the team at Clemens carpet look forward to seeing and serving you soon. This is Nikita Koloff, and I want to thank Clemens carpet for supporting my new show, Man Up, Saturday afternoon at 1230 on the Truth Network.

You're listening to the Truth Network and One of the greatest pullbacks of man, the guy was unbelievable. And I think he won the Heisman or runner up for the, you know, Billy vessels of the Heisman trophy winner. He went up north, a whole bunch of great, great players. I played against Johnny Rogers.

Now this is a little later because this is in the late sixties, Nebraska, but you try that guy was tailor made for that field. Cause it's wider, 65, right. 52 in the NFL. And, uh, and the rocket went up there in Toronto when they won the great cup. This is that now this is in the eighties or Wayne Gretzky and John candy McNall. They owned the Argonaut team and they won the great cup that year. But, uh, I love the CFL. I just, uh, they're going through some hard times now, but CFL has been around longer than the NFL.

Really. That's amazing up there for a long time. The rocket Ishmael, I remember. And, uh, Hey, um, so you go to Idaho state and you're a quarterback, correct?

I went to Idaho state and, uh, you know, a lot of times, I don't know about you, but negative things motivate me when, and my dad, who I loved with all my heart, very strict discipline area. Uh, one day we're in the car, he's taking me to summer school and the little girl next door came with us and she said, Larry, uh, when are you going to be getting that scholarship you've been talking about? And he stopped the car. He looked at me, he says, he'll never get a scholarship.

There's no way that's going to happen. And the highlight of my life probably ranks right up there near the very top was when a guy named Leo McKillip, he in college, he played for Notre Dame and he was the head coach at Idaho state university. So he came to my home and I'll never forget this. I think he rented a Cadillac parked right in front of our house, came in, he looks at my dad and he says, Mr. Kerichuk, I do, if he's as good as they say he is. And of course he got all his information from the Emerson Eskimo football club and the manager and the coach.

But he said, if he's as good as we think he is, uh, then he'll be as well known as the governor of the state of Idaho. My dad buck fell off his chair, his mouth's wide open. He didn't know what to say, you know, and they're saying he's getting a full ride scholarship. Everything's paid for tuition books.

He'll get some spending money. We're playing in Hawaii, we're playing in Tulsa, Oklahoma. We'll be playing in Oregon and, uh, and the rest is history. Wow. Well, I can relate to, you know, sometimes negative comments becoming a real motivating factor. I had a similar, you know, experience having fractured my leg, my freshman year in college, my old high school coach, yeah, sorry to hear about that.

Nobody ever comes back from that. I'm like, Oh yeah, buddy, I'll show you. You know what I did. So, so, so Larry, when it's from your dad, you idolize your father. And that's a, that was a powerful statement he made, but it's always been that kind of thing just makes me really not bitter, but better. And I've never regretted him saying it at all.

I probably would have made it anyway, but that really helped. Well, and, and, and, and I understand, and, and even my dad leaving when I was three to my mom to raise four by herself, you know, people have asked me, you know, did you, you know, did you hate your dad? Did you, I'm like, really? No, I re I mean, I really did. I did.

I didn't have any angst in my heart against him. And the Lord many years later would, would reconcile that relationship. In fact, on one of my podcasts, you're probably a crazy kid. I would think maybe, well, I mean, yeah, I was the youngest of four and, and my mom was up there in age. I mean, she was she was almost 40 when she had me. So yeah, I was a little unruly at times.

So let me ask you. I was crazy as a kid, man. I was like the middle child. And so I had to seek attention. I never got attention like my, the younger one did, or the older one. And so I just did crazy things, man. I, you know, and I'm going to share some of the things I was never. You'd always give me three chances before you'd spank me.

And he had a belt. And so what if I screwed up once? Okay, if you do it again, I'm going to you're going to and then I'll do it again. Okay, this is the last time and the third time all hell broke loose. And dang, I remember one time because I'd bounce around, he'd have that strap and he's whipping me. He missed and he hit me right on the face. And I had a big bruise right across the side of my face. And I'll tell you, nowadays, he'd have been in jail probably thinking, right, right, right. I've never held it against him.

Seriously, never said. One time I stole a kid's bike. I was like eight years old. Next thing you know, I'm riding my bike on the busiest street in Edmonton.

I think it's called Kingsway Highway. And he's driving a gravel truck. I couldn't have been older than seven maybe. And he pulls up next to me and the veins on his neck were sticking out. He was screaming and yelling. So I turned home and put the bike back where I found it, his bike. And then I did get it really good when he got home.

You're listening to the Truth Network and Well, hey, I mean, there's so many stories. Larry, you have so many stories. Look, here's the deal. We're going to have to do part two because we haven't even got to, to, I want to talk a little bit. We haven't even talked about hardly anything.

Well, we, I know, but the time flies, believe it or not, on these shows. So here's the deal. Here's the deal. So we're going to bring you back for a part two. We have to because I want to talk about Athletes International Ministries. You have a plethora of stories there.

And here's the deal. I'm going to make our listeners come and listen to part two and find out, don't say anything, find out if you ever got the chance to play in that stadium that was your dream. So don't say anything, but we want to find out if you ever got the chance to play in that stadium. Hear more about your athletic career in, in professional football and, and so many other things that, that we can talk about.

So, so let me just say this. I mean, already, you know, if, if you're not familiar with, with the name Larry Karachuk, man, you can go, I'm telling you, you can go research that name and you're going to find out this man was one incredible athlete as you're just now getting to learn. But even more than what he did on a football field, how God led him into, into ministry, reluctantly, if you will, but led him into ministry to where his ministry, Athletes International Ministries, not only impacted my life, but listen to this, impacted lives like George the Animal Steel. He mentioned the million dollar man, Ted DiBiase, Shawn Michaels, HBK, Road Warrior, Hawk and Animal, the Road Warriors, the Legion of Doom, Road Warriors.

I mean, the list goes on. Big boss man. And when we come back, part two, Larry, we're going to talk about that as well, how your ministry impact the world of wrestling, Luna Vachon, another Canadian, Luna Vachon and so many others. And so we're gonna, we're gonna welcome you back for, for another episode. Larry Karachuk, Phoenix, Arizona, we're talking to today. And on the Man Up show, Larry, we're gonna, we'll also on part two, and we'll make sure people know how to connect with Athletes International Ministries and find out more, but man, thank you for, for just giving us an introduction to who Larry Karachuk and your lovely bride, Wendy, we haven't even talked about her really, but we're so grateful to have you on the show today. So thank you for being a part of, yeah, the Man Up.

So it's time to Man Up with Nikita Koloff. And, and so come back, come back for part two, cause you're going to want to hear, as Paul Harvey would say, the rest of the story. This podcast is made possible by the grace of God and your faithful prayers, support, and generous gifts. May God bless you for your continual contributions.

Go to and donate today. Nikita Koloff, and I am here with a huge announcement, like, like big, big announcement. Man Up Men's Conference, Morningstar Ministries, Fort Mill, South Carolina, August 25th to the 27th. You're thinking that's a ways away.

No, not too soon to sign up. What a lineup of speakers we have, the Benham brothers, David and Jason Benham, All Star, NBA All Star, Al Wood is speaking. World Wrestling Champion, The Total Package Lex Luger, Chris Reed, Rick Joyner, Delta Force Commander, General, Lieutenant General Jerry Boykin retired. Yours truly, Nikita Koloff.

We're renowned evangelist, Frank Shelton. Register today. It is live. mstarevents, slash man up. Go get registered today. You will not want to miss this event. This is the Truth Network.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-18 19:16:23 / 2023-04-18 19:28:58 / 13

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