Larry McKown started his athletic career in 1944 at Oil Hill grade school playing shortstop on the baseball team and point guard on the basketball team for three years. During the summer of 1946 he was selected for the Skelly All-Stars as a shortstop. In 1949, 1950 and 1951, he was outfielder for the El Dorado High School baseball team, earning letters his last two years. His senior year he was the starting centerfielder. Also during this time he played for Coe Orndorff and the American Legion team. He was a leftfielder in 1949 and a centerfielder in 1950. Larry's baseball playing took him to Great Bend, Kansas where he played centerfield for the Great Bend Ban Johnson team for two years, 1951 an 1952. Then he came back to El Dorado and played centerfield for the El Dorado Rockets semi-pro team. In 1954, he played 2nd and 3rd base for a U.S. Marine Corps team in Korea and in 1956 he returned to the shortstop position playing for the Camp Pendelton, California Marine Corps team.
Larry lettered in four sports during the 1950-51 seasons at El Dorado High School-centerfielder in baseball, point guard in basketball, quarterback in football and in track as a pole vaulter.
Larry's football career started in the 9th grade at El Dorado High School where he played halfback and defensive back for two years. In 1949 he played quarterback and defensive back anf then in 1950 he played the same positions while leading El Dorado to a 9-1-1 record and second place finish in State. He was named third team All-Ark Valley. He played football for El Dorado Junior College in 1951 and 1952. His sophomore year, as the starting quarterback, he guided the team to an 8-1 record and the State Junior College Championship. Larry also played defensive back and did the punting for two years.
In 1956, McKown was re shirted his first year at Kansas University. The first game he played for the Jayhawks, in 1957, was against the University of Colorado in Boulder. He threw the first pass of his career, with a minute to go in the game, for 57 yards. This set up the winning touchdown for a 35-34 victory. The last college football Larry played was against the University of Missouri in 1958. He threw a pass to the same receiver that covered 80 yards with 30 seconds to play to tie MU, 13-13. He received Honorable Mention All-Big Eight as a quarterback in 1958.
Larry finished in 2nd place two consecutive years in the pole vault at the National Junior College track meet, 1952 and 1953. He placed 5th in the 1951 State High School track meet in the pole vault. He competed in the pole vault from 6th grade through junior college.