Home Nashville Sports Respected former Scrapper coach passes at age 71

Respected former Scrapper coach passes at age 71

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Coach Billy Laird1

RUSTON – A long and storied career in football that included a stint as head coach of the Nashville Scrappers came to a close Thursday just before noon as Billy Laird passed away.
Laird led the Scrappers from 1992 to 2003 and brought them to the state playoffs each season, including five games at War Memorial Stadium.
“Coach Laird’s impact on the Scrapper program is unprecedented – how he rallied the community to support our Scrappers to the statewide attention he brought to our school and community. It’s unbelievable. Scrapper football had been well respected before he came to Nashville but just like everything else he did, he took it to the next level,” said Nashville school superintendent Doug Graham.
In addition to a 130-34-1 record, Laird earned the appellation “Dr. Offense” during his years in Nashville, developing a reputation for pushing players to make big scores no matter what.
“Some coaches have it and others don’t, but his ability to make end-game adjustments was second to none. The whole community of Nashville became spoiled and we truly believed we were two-three touchdowns ahead when the game began because we had Coach Laird,” Graham further stated.
Laird was a recognized football athlete in his own right, with a noted career at Woodlawn High School before going on to be a three-time record setting quarterback and all-conference star at Louisiana Tech. In 1966, Laird was drafted by the then Boston, now New England, Patriots, and played for them one season.
From there, Laird had a long career in coaching, beginning at the University of Arkansas before going on to New Mexico State, Tulane, Northwestern State and Louisiana Tech before taking a two year hiatus to work in sales.
After that break, Laird came to Nashville, where he met conditions with equanimity. According to Graham, “Regardless of if you called him on a Saturday morning after a big win or a disappointing loss, he was the same person.”
After leaving Nashville, Laird moved to Ruston, LA, where his four grandchildren live, and became head coach at the high school there for nine years before reducing his role to acting solely as athletic director from 2012 until his death.
Laird passed away at 11:55 a.m. Thursday. Services were held this morning at 10 a.m. at the First Baptist Church of Ruston.

Coach Laird’s impact on the Scrapper program is unprecedented – how he rallied the community to support our Scrappers to the statewide attention he brought to our school and community. It’s unbelievable. Scrapper football had been well respected before he came to Nashville but just like everything else he did, he took it to the next level.”
-doug graham
Nashville Superintendent