“When we heard Drake was leaving, stepping into that job never entered my mind,” said Laird, a 1998 NSU graduate who has been part of the Demons’ coaching staff for eight years. “I love what I’ve been doing. But I had a friend in the community suggest that I might be good in that role, and the more I found out about it, the more excited I became at the chance to serve this university and its alumni, faculty, staff and students. Once I decided to pursue the job, I went to Coach Peveto and he’s been so supportive. I will always deeply appreciate his wisdom and advice through this decision-making process.
Laird will oversee the NSU Alumni Association and the NSU Foundation. The Alumni Association promotes the advancement of academic excellence by developing coalition among alumni, students, friends and the university community, while supporting the university’s traditions, values and future. The NSU Foundation serves the university, its students and faculty primarily through financial resources raised and distributed.
Owens, who has been part of record fundraising and alumni outreach in his four years in the position, praised the selection of Laird as his successor.
“Brad is a team player who will be a great leader for the variety of talented people we have on our staff. He’s going to appeal to our alumni and donor base as somebody who can speak to all aspects of our university.
He’s been selling Northwestern State University to recruits, their families and their coaches,” said Owens. “He knows about the great assets we have, the tremendous stories we have to tell.
“He’ll relate to someone who just graduated, and he’ll appeal to someone who’s receiving a 50-year-anniversary diploma. He just has a great demeanor and sincerely loves our university.”
The skill set Laird has honed with the Demon football program has him well positioned for immediate success in his new post.
Peveto pointed out Laird’s deep ties to the university and community. Laird’s father Billy was a Demon assistant coach from 1975-82.
Laird returned to Natchitoches as a highly-touted, championship-winning quarterback from Ruston High School and became the Demons’ career passing record-holder, throwing for 6,037 yards from 1991-95.
He was named one of the Top 100 Players in Demon Football History during the 2007 Centennial Celebration of NSU football, and was enshrined in the Louisiana High School Sports Hall of Fame in 2010. His wife Renee, an NSU graduate, is a teacher in the Natchitoches Parish School system, and they have two children, Brianna (8) and Brock (5).
“ Filling Laird’s post on the coaching staff is a crucial decision, he said. Laird coached the safeties along with being defensive coordinator and handling many administrative and outreach duties as associate head coach.