Oil City Grad and Former Franklin Football Coach LaVerde a Finalist for Don Shula Coach of the Year

| January 27, 2019

ORLANDO, Fla. (EYT) – The name Tiger carries a certain type of recognition in the sporting world. Ask many sports fans across the globe to respond to the name Tiger with the last name and almost every answer would be “Woods.”

(Photo: Tiger LaVerde poses with Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry at NFL Pro Bowl practice this week)

That may not be the case, however, for many sports fans across Venango County and in Kirtland, Ohio.

If you ask people from those places the same question, there’s a chance that you may get as many “LaVerde” answers as you do “Woods” answers.

For anyone who has followed the coaching career of Tiger LaVerde, it is easy to identify why so many people from his hometown of Oil City and his current hometown of Kirtland have been made aware of the incredible amount of success LaVerde has had at just two coaching stops as a high school football head coach.

The Oil City graduate compiled a 20-12 record during his three years at the helm at Franklin while also shattering many offensive records that the school had in place.

Kirtland, Ohio, however, is where LaVerde has really made his mark, compiling an incredible 159-17 record and four Division VI state titles (2011, 2013, 2015, 2018) with three state runner-up finishes (2012, 2014, 2017).

To phrase it another way, during LaVerde’s 13 years as the head man at Kirtland, his Hornets have played in the Division VI state championship game seven times.

While many across Venango County identify LaVerde as one of the County’s beloved sons and the town of Kirtland undoubtedly recognizes the efforts he puts forth in their community as a teacher and a coach, there is a chance that many others across the country may be able to also identify a second popular Tiger in the sporting world as LaVerde was recently announced as one of 32 finalists for the Don Shula Coach of the Year Award.

Named after Shula, the winningest coach in NFL history, the award seeks a single high school football coach nomination from each NFL team. Nominees are chosen for “their character and integrity, leadership, dedication to the community, commitment to player health and safety and on-field success.”

LaVerde is the Cleveland Browns’ nominee.

All nominees spent this past week in Orlando for a special VIP experience at the 2019 Pro Bowl. The coaches received VIP access at Pro Bowl practices, skills showdowns and celebrity football events. Each of the final 32 coaches also got to bring one of the seniors of their football team to share in the experience.

During the Pro Bowl Sunday, two finalists will be announced with each receiving $15,000.00 from the NFL Foundation and will also be treated as VIP guests for Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta. In addition to a trip to the Super Bowl, the winner will also be invited to walk the red carpet at the annual NFL Honors.

Don Shula, Tony Dungy, Willie McGinnest, Rod Woodson and Condoleeza Rice are just a few of the many distinguished members that make up the panel to ultimately determine who the 2018 Don Shula Coach of the Year Award will go to.


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Category: Local News, News, Sports