LaVerde notches 200th coaching victory at Kirtland
IMG_0217.WEBP

Barry Booher/The News-Herald

WEBMASTER'S NOTE -- Tiger LaVerde is a 1991 graduate of Oil City High School. He was head coach at Franklin from 2001-03, posting a 20-10 mark.

By JOHN KAMPF

The News-Herald/Willoughby, Ohio

The legacy of Kirtland football coach Tiger LaVerde continues to grow.

With the Hornets’ 34-8 decision over Harvey in the season opener Aug. 19, LaVerde notched his 200th win as the Hornets’ head coach. Since taking over the program in 2006, LaVerde is 200-18 (.917).

Including his three years coaching in Pennsylvania, LaVerde’s career record overall is 220-28 (.887).

“It’s something you don’t dream of when you’re coaching,” LaVerde said. “We’ve had a great combination of kids and coaches, kids who are willing to work hard.”

LaVerde’s first win as Kirtland’s head coach was a 45-18 rout of Beachwood on Aug. 26, 2006. His winning percentage of .917 at Kirtland is the highest in OHSAA history, ahead of Newark Catholic’s J.D. Graham (220-30-1, .880).

“I remember a lot about that first game,” LaVerde said. “Rossi Santo, who is on our staff now, was a sophomore and he took a punt back for a touchdown. It’s pretty cool he’s on our staff now.”

With 200 wins in 218 games (at Kirtland), LaVerde reached that plateau faster than any other coach in Ohio history. He's also the third fastest in U.S. history to reach the mark. George Quarles at Maryville, Tenn., and Bob Ladouceur at DeLaSalle in Concord, Calif., did it in 215 games.

LaVerde also:

• Has 137 wins in the last decade, the most in Ohio over that span.

• Is 54-9 in playoff games since taking over the program.

• Has won 10 regional championships and is 10-0 in state semifinals.

• Has led the Hornets to six state titles and four state runner-up finishes.

“It’s been really special,” he said of his tenure at Kirtland. “When I took the job, they had never won a playoff game. We were just trying to sneak in (to the playoffs) and win one. When we broke through and won a state championship in 2011, we broke through and won a bunch. But you never think of that happening. But we showed it’s not a pipe dream anymore.”

In the landmark win over Harvey, Kirtland outgained the Red Raiders, 387-163. Senior son Philip LaVerde ran for 64 yards and two touchdowns, freshman son Jake LaVerde ran for 60 yards and a touchdown, and the Hornets also got TD runs from Gino Blasini and Macguire Boyd.