NATCHITOCHES (KALB) -- There have been five different points over the last 30 years where the paths of Brad Laird and Northwestern State University crossed paths.
Some of Laird’s fondest childhood memories come when he was an eight-year-old self-described ‘runt’ running around the field at Turpin Stadium when his father, Louisiana football coaching legend Billy Laird, was the Demons’ offensive coordinator. Little did Laird know then that he and NSU would have an unbreakable bond.
That was strengthened even further last November when Laird was introduced as the 15th football coach of NSU. The title of head coach just the latest of many purple and orange hats that Laird has worn at NSU.
Says Laird of being the head coach of his alma mater, “who would’ve ever thought that?”
The answer to that question, not so ironically, is Laird himself who, when he took over as the Demons defensive coordinator in 2003, believed that he could one day be the main man patrolling the sidelines.
It was a thought with fairy tale elements, considering that as the Demons’ quarterback from 1991 to 1995, Laird set and still holds the NSU career passing record of 6,037 yards. He then got his first real taste of coaching as a grad assistant there before working his way through the high school ranks, returning to Natchitoches nearly 10 years later on Scott Stoker’s staff.
Laird then left NSU and coaching altogether after a couple of years to focus on raising a family with his wife, Renee. He returned as NSU’s defensive coordinator in 2008 and remained there until 2011, when he left coaching again to head the alumni foundation.
He was pulled back into coaching just two years later, taking over for his father at Ruston High School in what was his first head coaching job. He came back to Northwestern State again in 2017 for his third stint as the defensive coordinator.
Now as head coach, the long and winding path finally has reached the ultimate destination. That only means a new journey for Laird can begin, one that starts in College Station, TX on August 30 when the Demons open the 2018 football season against Texas A&M.