One of Northwestern State’s greatest football players and most successful defensive coordinators, Brad Laird, will return to the Demons’ coaching staff as associate head coach and defensive coordinator.
NSU head coach Jay Thomas made the announcement Thursday afternoon. Laird will replace Daryl Daye, who served in that role in the last two years and is leaving coaching. Laird’s hiring is pending approval of the University of Louisiana Board of Supervisors, which oversees nine state institutions including Northwestern State.
Laird will return next month to his alma mater from his high school alma mater, Ruston High School, where he averaged more than seven wins in four playoff seasons as head coach. He has also been the Bearcats’ athletics director for the past two years.
“I’m extremely excited about this opportunity to come back to Northwestern, and work with a head coach I recommended for that job, a man I greatly respect, Jay Thomas. There wasn’t any other offer that could have tugged us away from Ruston,” said Laird.
The 43-year-old Laird spent his early days 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.
“(Wife) 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. This is a unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for us and our family. I truly appreciate the faith that Coach Thomas has in me as a football coach, and the level of commitment that he, (athletics director) Greg Burke, (vice president) Jerry Pierce and (NSU president) Dr. Jim Henderson have made to make this something I really wanted to do,” said Laird.