GALION — For 43 years, Northmor athletic director Tim Laird has interacted with students and athletes daily. Laird recently announced that his long tenure as both an educator and as a highly-involved athletics director would come to an end with his retirement.
Anyone who knows Laird knows he doesn’t really like to talk much about himself, but reluctantly did so for this story.
And one of his reasons for moving on?
“I didn’t want to take any more college classes to renew my teaching certificate,” he said. “After 43 years, it was time to move on.”
It began in 1975 for Laird when he started teaching math at Mapleton High School.
“I loved teaching students the hows and whys on how things work,” he said. “Watching them discover how to solve problems using their basic fundamentals was thrilling. I tried to teach them fun shortcuts and how to apply mathematics in their everyday lives.”
As for the athletic side of things, Laird started out coaching freshmen basketball with a group of players that had never won a game. From there he moved up the coaching ranks. But he says he always wanted coaching to be secondary to his teaching and the molding of young minds.
He must’ve been doing something right because that same group of freshmen that never won a game used their basic fundamental training to work their way up to conference champions in their junior and senior seasons. With all of the math and coaching keeping him busy, Laird would see himself face to face with the opportunity to become an athletic director.
“(The) job was something that fell into my lap,” he said. “Having coached multiple sports over the years, I had a varied background. I would always go and support our other teams, so time wasn’t a problem, although the job is very time consuming.”
Now that Laird will have some free time away from his job of following Northmor’s spring teams, what will he be up to?
“I’m not sure right now,” he said. “I’ve been asked to help coach football again, but I’ll probably go and watch the games that I want to see. The biggest thing is not being rushed to make sure that I’m covering a game.”
As for now, no replacement for Laird has been announced.
Looking back, he has many fond memories from more than four decades of teaching, coaching and directing.
“A few memories from over the years that stick out to me are the boys basketball team that defeated Ontario back in 1989, right after Ontario earned a state ranking,” he said. “The 1990 volleyball team that went 18-4 after having a 17-game winning streak in the season is another. In 1991, the girls volleyball won the conference title with a 17-5 record and so many more to bring them all up. The best memory of them all would have to be beating the basketball players in ‘P-I-G’ and not shooting a single basket from more than three feet away.”
Northmor’s athletics are at a high-point currently. They qualified for their first ever playoff appearance in football this past fall, earned their second consecutive sectional and conference titles in boys basketball and had four wrestlers place at the state meet.
Laird expects more success in this spring.
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