October 22, 2014

Medina
Cloudy
45°F

Larry Laird’s legend grows

CLEVELAND — Larry Laird’s great first sea­son with Medina’s football team got even bet­ter Sunday afternoon.

Medina coach Larry Laird, wearing sunglasses and a white hat, poses with members of the Bees football team after being named Cleveland Browns High School Coach of the Year on Sunday. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY RON SCHWANE)

Medina coach Larry Laird, wearing sunglasses and a white hat, poses with members of the Bees football team after being named Cleveland Browns High School Coach of the Year on Sunday. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY RON SCHWANE)

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 brisports@hotmail.com.