CLEVELAND — Larry Laird’s great first season with Medina’s football team got even better Sunday afternoon.
Laird was announced as the winner of the Cleveland Browns High School Coach of the Year award at halftime of their 24-23 win over the Carolina Panthers.
He was one of 10 finalists for the honor — all of whom were kept in the dark about the winner until it was revealed to the sellout crowd of 64,463.
Laird’s selection was well deserved, according to Medina senior defensive back Jeremy Stich.
“He emphasized the team aspect, and he brought in a lot of experience that helped us all out,” he said. “His attitude from Day 1 showed us that he wanted to build a winning program.” Laird led the Bees to their second postseason berth and a 9-3 record, including a stunning upset of top-seeded Canton McKinley in the first round of the Division I playoffs.
One week before beating the Bulldogs, Medina edged Brunswick 14-13 in its regular season finale to earn the right to play on.
“We were a very disciplined, hard-working team because of his great leadership and high expectations from the get-go,” Bees senior wide receiver/cornerback/punter/kicker Justin Letts said.
The other finalists for the Browns COY award were St. Edward’s Rick Finotti, North Ridgeville’s Jeff Riesen, Independence’s James Jackson, Massillon Perry’s Matt Rosati, Maple Heights’ Todd Filtz, Rocky River’s Rick Adams, Chagrin Falls’ Mark Iammarino, Olmsted Falls’ Jim Ryan and Beachwood’s Ryan Williams.
Making Laird’s victory even more impressive, St. Edward (Division I), Maple Heights (Division II) and Chagrin Falls (Division IV) are still alive in the playoffs and will play for state championships on Dec. 3-4.
Contact Brian Dulik at email@example.com.