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For Kirtland’s Tiger LaVerde, coaching is about family, making memories | Opinion | High School Sports

 

Tiger LaVerde is a family-first kind of guy.

His daily regimen might not look like it at first glance, but he is.

Known as one of the most successful high school football Sbobet88 Piala Dunia coaches in Ohio, with six state championships and a 184-17 record with the Kirtland Hornets to his name, LaVerde isn’t just coaching a sport this spring.

He is coaching THREE.

LaVerde is Kirtland’s junior high track coach, lacrosse coach AND the coach for the school’s upstart girls flag football team.

All this on top of taking shifts monitoring Kirtland’s weight-lifting regimen after school and teaching a full day.

Family-first guy, huh?

“Yeah, it’s been a little crazy,” LaVerde said, “but it’s fun. I get to coach all of my kids. That’s the real blessing.”

LaVerde and his wife Mary have four children — senior Leah, sophomore Phillip, freshman Sophia and seventh-grader Jakey.

All four are being coached by their Dad this spring.

Leah plays for her dad’s flag football team on Friday nights. She also runs multiple events for the Kirtland track team.

Phillip is on the lacrosse team, which is a club sport at Kirtland, and also runs track.

Sophia is playing flag football, along with her role on the Kirtland tennis team.

And Jakey is a sprinter and hurdler on the junior high track team that his dad coaches.

“It’s a blessing, that’s for sure,” LaVerde said. “It’s all for the fun and the enjoyment with the kids.”

Not only HIS kids, but all the kids he coaches.

LaVerde loves what he does.

In the classroom, where he teaches math, his students rave of the experience taking Mr. LaVerde’s class — although most call him “Coach” rather than “Mr.” because chances are he coaches them in SOME sport.

After all, LaVerde also coaches football in the fall and was the boys JV basketball coach this past winter.

For those counting at home, that’s five sports LaVerde has coached this school year, though LaVerde pointed out that two (lacrosse and girls flag football) aren’t sanctioned by the OHSAA.

But they ARE sports. They ARE being played. And they ARE being coached by LaVerde.

“It’s so much fun,” he sad. “It’s about getting kids off the X-boxes, off their phones and having fun with their friends and making memories.

“That’s what it’s all about when you’re in school, having fun with your friends. That’s why I don’t mind doing this.”

The funny thing is, LaVerde isn’t really an aficionado on any of the three sports he coaches in the spring. But he’s loving it.

“I didn’t really know anything about lacrosse until the boys started playing it for Mentor Youth a couple of years ago,” he said with a laugh. “I watched and learned it. We have like 70 football players and most of them are on the lacrosse team.”

 

High school girls flag football league commences with successful opening night

The girls flag football thing came out of the blue, too, and when Perry coach Matt Rosati — who stepped down from his varsity position this past fall — called LaVerde and asked him if he could get a team together from Kirtland, LaVerde gave it a shot.

“I asked Leah what she thought, and she texted her friends and it was a resounding ‘Yes,'” LaVerde said.

But how does a guy go from coaching boys in 11-on-11 tackle football to coaching girls in 5-on-5 flag football?

How, if at all, does that translate?

“It’s a lot of the same concepts we use in our summer 7 on 7s,” LaVerde said. “Now that the girls know those plays, they’re like, ‘Man, I wish I had known these plays when we were watching the boys on Friday night.’ They find it neat to know some of the play concepts the boys run.”

Oh, and if anyone wants to know if LaVerde’s teams are as successful in the spring as they are on Friday nights in the fall — a tough feat to imagine — well, they’re pretty good.

The lacrosse team came away with a 4-3 win over South last week.

And the girls flag football team, a team of 10 comprised of girls from Kirtland’s state championship soccer team, is undefeated and unscored upon heading into an April 15 showdown against Rosati’s undefeated Perry squad.

Again, for those counting at home, if you combine LaVerde’s 41 consecutive wins in boys football with the girls flag football team’s 4-0 record this spring, that means Kirtland’s high school football teams STILL haven’t lost a game since Dec. 12, 2017 — a span of 45 games and 1,216 days.

LaVerde laughed because, even with his success on the gridiron, it’s never been about records or rings.

It’s about forging relationships and memories that last a lifetime for kids — not only his and Mary’s but for all kids of Kirtland.

“The most important thing,” LaVerde said, “is you want the kids to have a great experience and a great time.”

Maybe that’s why Tiger LaVerde is the popular teacher, coach and father that he is.

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Travis Burnett

Travis Burnett

A pioneer in the flag football community, Travis helped co-found the Flag Football World Championship Tour, FlagSpin and USA Flag. Featuring 15+ years of content creation for the sport of flag football, creating and managing the largest flag football tournaments on the planet, coaching experience at the youth and adult level as well as an active player with National and World Championship level experience.

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