Laird Named NSU Head Football Coach

first_img“Recruiting is the focal point of the future of Northwestern State football,” he said. “This is a very vital time with the midyear signing date Dec. 20, and the traditional signing date on the first Wednesday in February. We will get out into the high schools and look forward to visiting with the head coaches throughout Louisiana, and also in Texas, Arkansas and Mississippi. Laird said he’s already under way on two fronts: building his coaching staff, and honing in on recruiting. “Coach Sam Goodwin took a chance on me as an undersized quarterback out of Ruston High School, and had a great influence on my life. Coach Scott Stoker brought me back to NSU in 2003, and took a chance on me in the coaching profession. Bradley Dale Peveto gave me my first college job as a graduate assistant here in 1996, and kept me here when he came back as head coach. Laird left coaching in 2012 and served as director of university advancement, overseeing the NSU Alumni Association and the NSU Foundation, into 2013 before his father retired as Ruston’s football coach and he was wooed to fill the post. His father remained as Ruston’s athletics director until his sudden passing in May 2015. “Our football team has momentum as well. We won three of our last four games, played our best football as the season went forward,” said Laird. “It’s an exciting time for everybody in the Northwestern family to come together to bring this program to the heights we want to make sure to reach, on a year-to-year basis competing for championships on and off the field, academically and athletically.” “We will ensure we’re in every high school in this state,” said Laird. “There’s nothing better than Louisiana high school football. Our program is going to be based on recruiting outstanding high school student-athletes.” NATCHITOCHES, Louisiana – Brad Laird, one of Northwestern State’s greatest football players and most successful defensive coordinators, is the Demons’ new head football coach, athletics director Greg Burke announced Monday afternoon.  “Then I go back to my high school coach, Chick Childress at Ruston, who was so influential to so many young men, and so successful; and of course, to my dad. The reason I got in this profession was watching how he handled young men. “At a moment like this, you want to thank so many people, and a few especially stand out. First I’ve got to thank Coach Thomas, who I have such great respect for, and who brought me back here to run the defense this season,” said Laird. “This program is nowhere near broken. We’re closer than the win-loss record reflects because there’s a great foundation, in every aspect, that he has instilled. He has already been a tremendous advisor for me, which is a tremendous asset. Laird, 44, will be officially introduced as head coach early next week on campus. The university is currently on Thanksgiving break. Laird’s promotion from associate head coach and defensive coordinator, a position he assumed this past January, is pending approval of the University of Louisiana Board of Supervisors, which oversees nine state institutions including Northwestern State. “To come back to your alma mater was an exciting opportunity a year ago for (wife) Renee and I, and although I didn’t envision this day, it’s even a greater thrill to have the trust of (NSU president Chris) Dr. Maggio, (vice president of external affairs Jerry) Mr. Pierce, and Mr. Burke,” said Laird. His coaching acumen blends with his experience recruiting Louisiana and East Texas, and his knowledge of state high school football enhanced during his time as Ruston’s head coach, to further strengthen his portfolio.After his record-setting playing career at NSU, Laird coached on Goodwin’s staff in 1996, then worked for Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame coach Don Shows at West Monroe High School in 1997, going on to coach at Ouachita High, Longview (Texas) High and Nashville (Ark.) High before joining Stoker’s staff as defensive coordinator prior to spring practice in 2003.Mrs. Laird, an NSU graduate, is an educator. They have two children, Brianna (14) and Brock (11). As a coach, Laird was running the Purple Swarm defense when NSU was second nationally in total defense (2004, 274.7 yards allowed pg) and ninth (2003, 287.3 ypg) and produced 75 turnovers from 2003-05. The Demons set three NCAA records and led the Southland Conference in total defense and rushing defense, also ranking highly in pass defense each season.  The Demons won their most recent Southland championship and made their last FCS playoff appearance in 2004. His 2016 Bearcats were ranked sixth in Louisiana’s largest prep classification, Class 5A, and became only the third RHS team since 1990 to win at least eight regular-season games. Before this season, Laird had been the Demons’ DC twice before, for a total of seven years, under Scott Stoker (2003-05, 2008) and Bradley Dale Peveto (2009-11). The Demons’ all-time career passing leader (6,037 yards, 1991-95), he was a 2015 inductee in the N-Club Hall of Fame, the university’s highest athletic honor. “While NSU has hired a great number of coaches and staff from around the country through the years who have had a high level of success, sometimes the best choice is right in your backyard.  So with tremendous confidence, I’m announcing that Brad Laird will be the new football coach at Northwestern State University,” said Burke.  A wide-ranging list of attributes made Laird the clear choice to take over the program, said Burke. An all-state quarterback in the state’s largest classification at Ruston, Laird was the 1991 Superdome Classic MVP for the Bearcats’ unbeaten team that finished ranked No. 1 nationally by USA Today. While Ruston won a pair of state titles, Laird set school career passing records and was 30-1 as the starter. He was inducted in the Louisiana High School Sports Hall of Fame in 2010. He becomes the Demons’ 15th head football coach, succeeding Jay Thomas, whose contract was not renewed following five seasons in charge. The Demons finished 4-7 overall, 4-5 in Southland Conference play, this season, winning three of their last four games, capped by a 38-21 victory Saturday over Stephen F. Austin. “My vision is to excel on and off the field. First of all comes the academic piece, and the community involvement this team will have. Then we will excel on the field, between the white lines. It’s going to be created by attitude and effort in everything we do. We’re going to win, and win the right way, in every aspect.” Laird spent his early years in Natchitoches when his late father, Billy Laird, was offensive coordinator for the record-shattering, NFL talent-laden Demons of the late 1970s and early 1980s under head coach A.L. Williams, when future pro stars like Bobby Hebert, Joe Delaney and Mark Duper shined for NSU. In 2017, Laird restored the “Purple Swarm” brand for the NSU defense, which had struggled in the past two seasons but showed flashes of brilliance, especially down the stretch. In the past month, the Demons twice recorded 13 tackles for loss in wins over Houston Baptist and Abilene Christian, and staged a series of goalline stands, two in Saturday’s victory over SFA. Monday, senior linebacker Peyton Guidry was named the national FCS Defensive Player of the Week after making 18 tackles against the Lumberjacks. “What a time to be here at Northwestern State University, with the momentum that has taken off first under (former president, now UL System president) Dr. (Jim) Henderson, and increased under Dr. Maggio, with record enrollment and so many great things happening here now and coming up in the near future. Laird has coached at the high school level as an assistant at some of the region’s most powerful programs: West Monroe, Ouachita, Longview (Texas) and Nashville (Arkansas), in addition to his four seasons as head coach at Ruston. He spent one season, 2007, at SFA. “Brad got back in the game with a special opportunity at Ruston High School before he came back to us last winter,” said Burke. “He has an outstanding coaching pedigree, strong relationships with the high school coaching community, and a perspective on our football program gained over the past year which gives him a tremendous head start as he assumes leadership of the program. Perhaps the best intangible is his burning drive and desire to elevate the success level of Demon football for our campus and community, as well as for our loyal fans and the NSU football alumni base.”Laird returned to NSU 10 months ago from his high school alma mater, Ruston High School, where he averaged more than seven wins in four playoff seasons as head coach. He was also the Bearcats’ athletics director in 2015-16. “It’s football, and it’s the X’s and O’s, but for him it was about how he influenced them on and off the field. That’s what I wanted to be a part of, and that’s the approach we’re going to continue here.””I look forward to the opportunity to coach this football team. We’re going to have a good team next season and in the years to come. “Brad has many assets that make him an outstanding choice to lead his coaching staff and over 100 student-athletes while also representing NSU with a high level of class and professionalism,” said Burke. “Having been outside of athletics in an administrative role with the NSU Foundation, he has a ‘global view’ of our university and a great appreciation for all involved in the Northwestern family.” “Brad has a passion for NSU, as a former coach and administrator, and as one of the best players to ever wear a Demon uniform, that cannot be surpassed. He’s ready for this opportunity, he wants this opportunity, and he will make the best of this opportunity.” His college days in Natchitoches profoundly impacted Laird. Laird was named to NSU’s Top 100 Demon Football Players roster during the centennial celebration for the program in 2007. “Renee and I met and fell in love at Northwestern, and fell in love with Northwestern. So many of the people who have been our best friends, and people who have had huge impacts on our lives, have been at NSU and in Natchitoches,” said Laird.last_img read more

Lewis Repeats as Men’s Basketball Player of the Week

first_imgFRISCO, Texas – Abilene Christian’s Jaren Lewis is the Southland Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Week, the league announced Monday. Southland Players of the Week are presented by MidSouth Bank.Lewis averaged 15.3 points per game while helping the Wildcats (6-0) stay undefeated with wins over Elon, Pacific and UC-Riverside to claim the Tigers Thanksgiving Classic title, hosted by Pacific. ACU is off to its best start at the Division I level and best start overall since the 1998-99 team began the year 11-0. The Wildcats host Howard Payne at 6 p.m. Tuesday before returning to California to face Pepperdine at 7 p.m. CT Saturday.Men’s Basketball Player of the Week – Jaren Lewis – Sr. – Forward – Orlando, Fla.Senior Jaren Lewis was voted most valuable player at the Tigers Thanksgiving Classic after averaging 15.3 points and seven boards per game across three contests. The league leader in points per game (16.8), he poured in 16 points and grabbed five rebounds in a 72-56 win over Elon and followed it up with season-highs in field goals made (nine) and points (20) in a 73-71 triumph over host Pacific. This is Lewis’ second Player of the Week honor in 2018.Honorable Mention: Christian Peevy, UIW; Kevin Johnson, NICHlast_img read more

OLD No. 98: Santa Anita’s beloved Paddock Captain John Shear is flanked by jockeys Agapito Delgadillo and Geovanni Franco as he accepts congratulations on his 98th birthday

first_imgOLD No. 98:  Santa Anita’s beloved Paddock Captain John Shear is flanked by jockeys Agapito Delgadillo and Geovanni Franco as he accepts congratulations on his 98th birthday in the Winner’s Circle following Friday’s 6th race.  A London, England native, Shear adheres to a faithful workout regimen that includes 30 pushups each morning.last_img

Mourinho swaps criticism for cuddles and Spurs aces like new ‘soft version’

first_imgJOSE MOURINHO is taking the softly-softly approach at Tottenham — and so far it is working a treat.The Special One appears to have learnt from the meanness and moaning that caused so much misery in his time at Manchester United.3 Dele Alli is among the Tottenham players already impressed by his encounters with new boss Jose MourinhoCredit: Getty – Contributor3 Jose Mourinho admits adopting a softer persona to help him bed in at SpursCredit: Getty Images – GettyHe has swapped the criticism for cuddles and animosity for an arm around the shoulder.His Tottenham stars might have feared the hairdryer from their new boss when they came in 2-1 down at half-time during Tuesday’s 4-2 Champions League comeback win over Olympiakos.But Mourinho said: “I just had to be a soft version of myself. I felt the players were in need of some love.”Wow. Never mind Mourinho’s comments about Dele Alli having a brother, it seems he has one too.Where has the grumpy little Portuguese fella gone?But it paid off as Spurs sealed a stunning second-half revival to book their place in the last 16 of Europe’s elite competition.’GOOD RELATIONSHIP SO FAR’It means Mourinho has won his first two games in charge of the North Londoners since replacing the axed predecessor Mauricio Pochettino a week ago.Striker and stand-in skipper Harry Kane, who scored twice against the Greeks, said: “Half-time was calm. Scoring just before half-time helped obviously, but we knew we could not play any worse.“The manager was calm — but you never know what a new manager is going to be like.“He’d been here for less than a week and only had two games.“So far it’s been all about trying to save the energy, not trying to work too much with the players because of the amount of games we have coming up.“It’s early days but we have a good relationship so far. We talk and try to help the team.Jose Mourinho jokes about seeing his Olympiakos half-time team talk on the Amazon documentary3 Harry Kane says Jose Mourinho stayed calm at half-time despite Spurs trailing 2-1 after their terrible first 45 minutes against OlympiakosCredit: Getty Images – Getty“With me being one of the leaders in the team he looks to me for feelings and advice on the team.“When you are winning games it definitely helps your relationship.“Hopefully we can build a strong relationship.“We know we both want to win big competitions.“That’s the team’s aim, that’s my aim and that is the manager’s aim.“Hopefully I can help him do that this year and see where we can go.”One Spurs star who has definitely responded to Mourinho’s arrival is Dele Alli.LADBROKES 1-2-FREE Simply predict Saints vs Watford, Arsenal and Leicester vs Everton scores this coming weekend and win £100The midfielder had been axed from the previous two England squads due to his poor form.After Mourinho was appointed Tottenham manager he had a dig at Dele by asking if it was him who had been playing or his brother?But the star has responded to the jibe by following up his outstanding display in the 3-2 win at West Ham on Saturday with another fine performance — and a goal — in the comeback win against Olympiakos.Kane, 26, said: “Dele has done great in the last couple of games. Everyone talks about the old Dele but he has just got to keep doing what he’s doing.“He’s a fantastic player, a fantastic guy. It’s great to see him scoring goals, assisting goals and running at players.”Mourinho insists the Tottenham squad just needs tweaking and not a major overhaul — even though abject displays under Pochettino and a woeful first-half against Olympiakos suggest otherwise.most read in footballTHROUGH ITRobbie Keane reveals Claudine’s father was ’50-50′ in coronavirus battleTOP SELLERGavin Whelan has gone from League of Ireland to David Beckham’s InstagramExclusiveRIYAD RAIDMan City’s Riyad Mahrez has three luxury watches stolen in £500,000 raidPicturedAN EYEFULMeet Playboy model and football agent Anamaria Prodan bidding to buy her own clubI SAW ROORodallega saw Rooney ‘drinking like madman’ & Gerrard ‘on bar dancing shirtless’NEXT STEPJonny Hayes set to move to English Championship having been let go by CelticBut Kane said: “We have got a quality squad, no doubt about that. We have got one of the best squads in Europe.“In football when things don’t go your way, it is easy to maybe drop your levels a little bit and you end up going on a downward spiral and you have got to pick it up.“In the last couple of games we have done that but we know we have a lot of hard work to continue that.”Jose Mourinho celebrates with Spurs ball boy after his quick thinking leads to Champions League equaliserlast_img read more

SA teams to learn fate on July 7

first_imgIt was announced in April that Super Rugby would be trimmed from 18 teams to 15 going forward, with two of the South African representatives set for the chop.That move will leave South Africa with four sides in the southern hemisphere competition, while Australia will also see one of its teams cut.The Cheetahs and Southern Kings are widely expected to be the sides that lose their place, but the definite identity of the teams at risk remains unclear.The South African Rugby Union announced on Wednesday that a special general meeting will be held on July 7 to determine “the SA teams to participate in Super Rugby”.Chief executive Jurie Roux confirmed a decision would be made using a proposal from SA Rugby’s executive council and the franchise committee, which is made up of the six current teams.The proposal will also be discussed by a non-franchise committee ahead of the meeting, that panel containing representatives from South Africa’s 14 provincial rugby unions.last_img read more


first_imgNew Zealand v CanadaNew Zealand and Canada began proceedings, and while Kiwi Ferns dominance would not have been surprising to the neutral, the fight and determination that Canada showed was nothing short of inspirational.They trailed just 16-4 at half-time against a team with various World Cup’s under their best, showcasing what they can do despite the side only being formed in recent times.The Canadian team has a Rugby Union background, and their ability to adapt to the 13-a-side (on the field) game was very pleasing for coach Mike Castle.“We showed the potential that we’ve got, I think we showed that we can compete with the best in the world, certainly in that first half,” Castle says in the post-match press conference.“Bearing in mind it’s our first real hit-out, we’ve had a couple of trial games and a few exhibition games and to put that performance in the first half is really impressive, I’m really proud.“WE HAD A CAMP IN VANCOUVER A COUPLE OF MONTHS AGO, AND BETWEEN THEN AND NOW IT’S AN UNBELIEVABLE DIFFERENCE.”New Zealand ended up running away with the match, largely thanks to debutant fullback Apii Nicholls-Pualau, who had a big job to fill the boots of Ferns mainstay Sarina Fiso.Captain Laura Mariu concedes there is lot to work on, but gave credit to the Canadians as they mad a game out of it.“We knew they’d come out firing, considering they’re new to the international scene they did really well to keep us in there,” Mariu says.“They’re a rugby nation, so they were going to play with that burrowing style which we’re not used to as league players.“Our error rate let us down, especially in the first half.”New Zealand 50 (Hireme 2, Fotu-Moala 2, Maumau 2, Tupaea, Murray, Nicholls-Pualau tries; Nati 7 goals) def Canada 4 (Pakulias try)Australia v Cook IslandsThe Jillaroos put together a near-perfect first half performance to blow Cook Islands off the park in their opening World Cup match.The home side led 36-0 at the break, before their defence was tested by a relentless Cook Islands outfit who crashed over for a moral-boosting try near the end of the game.“We defended three or four sets there, and you could sense the disappointment when they let in the try.“THEY WERE DISAPPOINTED AT 52-0 TO LET IN A TRY, WHICH SHOWS THE INTENT OF THIS SQUAD.”That same try brought polarising emotions for the Cook Islands side, as it brought massive confidence to the side despite the lob-sided score-line.Coach Ian Bourke, while disappointed with the score-line, was happy with the effort at some parts of the game given the circumstances.“2003 was the last time Cook Islands were on the world stage, so it was pretty brave, I’m proud to be their mentor,” Bourke says.“We should some promise there with some patterns of play and we need to improve for next time.“They got together on Sunday, they’ve never had a training run together, so let’s be realistic about this, that was pretty impressive.Australia 52 (C Moran 2, B Breayley, K Brown, A Brigginshaw, V Foliaki, T Quinn, I Kelly, N Davis-Welsh, M Ward, L O’Mealey tries; Studdon 4, Moran 3 goals) def Cook Islands 4 (C Schofield try)England v Papua New GuineaEngland battled jet-lag in their preparation and injuries during the game, but they put together a fine performance against PNG to start their campaign off on a positive note.They fought the adversity of losing halfback Kirsty Moroney, and it remains to be seen if they will name a full-strength side in three days against the Jillaroos.“IT’S ALWAYS A CHALLENGE, THE LAST WORLD CUP WE HAD A SIMILAR PROBLEM,” COACH CHRIS CHAPMAN SAYS.“The physio’s are brilliant, they’ll do the job, the girls already know what they’re going to do, we’ll recover, rehab and have a look.“That’s why you bring a squad, you can’t play a three day turnaround and not expect to use a rotation anyway.”PNG coach Dennis Miall was happy with certain aspects of the game, but concedes there is a lot to work on as they prepare for Canada in three days.“It was not what we expected, England gave a very tough game,” Miall said.“We didn’t do the little things that we were supposed to do, and that let us down.“We had the fire, we could’ve done more, and unfortunately the girls didn’t continue with what they were supposed to do“I believe the experience from England got over our girls, and we let ourselves down.”England 38 (Booth 2, Hoyle, Hardcastle, Stanley, Bound Sutcliffe tries, Stanley 5 goals) def PNG 8 (Kaupa, Oiufa tries)Matt Buxton | @mattbuxton22 ‏Rugby League World Cup 2017 Reporterlast_img read more

Perese has “beast mode” up sleeve: Kerevi

first_imgKerevi, Perese and Fijian flyer Filipo Daugunu will be the enterprising outside backs that could set the Suncorp Stadium crowd alight come Friday, when the Tens take hold of Brisbane.Kerevi will captain the Reds and he has high hopes for their campaign this weekend.”Izzy has the switch he can put on and he can just go beast mode,” Kerevi said.”Filipo has amazing feet, he’s been training well for us and he played exceptionally well for (Queensland) Country so I am excited to see him out there.”They’re real quick – at training they have been turning on the gas.”Australian rugby fans have had a taste of Perese’s electric feet but it’s Daugunu remains somewhat of a mystery, given his exposure at the elite level remains limited.”The first time I saw (Daugunu) he was playing for Wests, against Souths, in a trial match and straight away I said ‘Who’s that guy?'”He scored three tries game, kicked a goal and for me, I’m just happy he’s on my side.”He will be amazing for the Tens, I know that.”The Reds haven’t named a wildcard in line with the other Australian franchises and that’s testament to Thorn’s dislike for frills.”Speaking to Thorny, I think he just wants to give opportunity for all the boys to play,” Kerevi said.”We’ve got a great, young side coming through and we have some exciting players here for the Tens.”We want to win but we also want to get the cobwebs out.”After a preseason packed with gruelling sessions under Thorn’s observant eye, Kerevi looked at the tournament as a reward, of sorts.”It’s been a long preseason so we are ready to start playing footy,” he said.”I just really want the young guys to express themselves and enjoy playing footy.”It’s the reward we get after a long couple weeks of preseason.”last_img read more

“Rodrigo is on the table”

first_imgRodrigo does not have the profile of Suarez by far, but it may be the only viable option to reinforce the lead with a real player. The Lautaro option is complicated and there is silence regarding other names such as Aubameyang or Giroud. Bartomeu’s words confirm that Barça and Valencia speak for the striker, although the agreement will not be easy. Barça would like the transfer not to include a mandatory purchase option while Valencia wants 60 million for the international striker now or in June. Josep Maria Bartomeu, president of Barça, admitted Monday at the World Sports Gala that the Barça club considers the signing of Rodrigo: “It is on the table of the technicians to replace Suárez”.last_img

Tuchel, on Neymar’s birthday: “It’s not the best way to prepare a match”

first_imgThe Borussia Dortmund’s technician, who has plenty of support among the Paris fans, also tried to subtract iron from the matter, aware of the atmosphere surrounding the club: “Is it the worst thing that could happen to us? Nor is that. It’s a shame because we give opportunities to talk badly about us.”. “We are a mentally strong team,” added the German, “We have to get used to this situation, but not leaving players on the bench or at home because they were partying”. Related to the latter, Tuchel He dropped that both Neymar and Mbappé could be from the game against Nantes: “If they are in good shape, if they train well, we will do that.” The German tried to close the matter by explaining that the situation “is not black or white”: “The context is bigger. Everyone should train seriously and show tomorrow that they are able to play as they know.” We will have to follow closely the development of events in the French capital. It seems impossible to spend a quiet quarter at Paris Saint-Germain. To the last row starring Thomas Tuchel and Kylian Mbappé, which sounds again loudly to arrive at the Santiago Bernabéu, we must add the comments of the German coach about Neymar’s birthday party, which the Teuton technician did not like precisely. In the previous game that will measure the capital against Nantes, Tuchel was not too happy that the celebration of the twenty-eighth anniversary of the Brazilian was two days after the clash against the Bretons: “Is this the best way to prepare for a match? Clearly not.”.last_img read more

Bale follows his air

first_imgZidane replaced Bale in Pamplona in the 71st minute.JESUS ​​ALVAREZ ORIHUELA Maybe it was just that, seeing himself in a fast and hard-legged encounter, which caused him to withdraw thinking that in two weeks the Manchester City in the Champions catwalk. “Bale is afraid of getting injured again”, commented Dani Garrido in Sports Carousel. The Welshman was cheating on the sprints, leaded under the socks. Only two shots (none at Herrera’s arch), the least you have a good time (twenty-one), not a dribble and many, many losses (14, more than Isco and Benzema) … Zidane’s defense That is why or because they had agreed, Zidane replaced him in the 71st minute. “He is an important player, he has shown, he has made very good minutes defensively and offensively, “was the response of the Marseillaise when asked about Bale in the flash interview. “I do not agree with Zizou, I thought it was another Bale match … “Jorge Valdano added immediately in Movistar + LaLiga. The week of Bale did not end in full reintegration. Your agent (Jonathan Barnett) tried to reconcile Welsh with Real Madrid through this newspaper in pursuit of the four months he has left in the club (“Gareth loves Real Madrid, the city and his life there”) and Zidane gave him a complex match in Pamplona that was more a challenge than a real pardon. Well, Bale left The Sadar without winning any of those two particular matches. He was seen cold and not very participatory, that is, a standard match under the parameters of Welsh, unalterable even in a game as revolutionized as yesterday. Since Madrid returned from the Saudi Super Cup, Bale had only been taken out of the dungeon before Unionistas in Copa, party that also did not complete, but Zidane goes to the old resource of the external threat to corner the debate. “They want us to have a problem with Gareth, but there isn’t one.”he insisted. The highest paid player of the team stayed in July when he had the suitcase made, he has only completed five games throughout the season and his production is limited to three goals. Not to be a problem, Bale seems.last_img read more