During Sunday's 26-20 win over the Carolina Panthers at FirstEnergy Stadium, the Cleveland Browns named Kirtland High School football head coach Tiger LaVerde the 2018 Browns High School Coach of the Year. In January, LaVerde will also represent the Browns as Cleveland's Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year nominee and attend the 2019 Pro Bowl in Orlando.
LaVerde, who led Kirtland to a perfect 15-0 record and his fourth Division VI state championship with the Hornets, was selected among nine finalists for his demonstrated excellence in character, on-field success, community involvement and commitment to the development of youth and high school football in the region. Each year, the winning coaches of each 2018 Browns High School Game of the Week, in association with Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM), are recognized as finalists for the annual accolade.
In his 13th season directing the program, LaVerde has compiled a 159-17 record (.903) with the Hornets, earning playoff berths in 12 of 13 years with a 38-8 postseason mark (.826). His teams have reached seven state championship games in the past eight years as the squad claimed league titles in 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2018. Additionally, the program has an extremely high participation rate with more than 70 percent of male students contributing to the football team.
LaVerde, a highly respected calculus teacher, is also dedicated to the overall development of youth football in Northeast Ohio and serves as a volunteer coach for a local Rookie Tackle program. Launched in 2017, the Browns and local youth football organizations across the country host USA Football Rookie Tackle programs to further introduce and evaluate the new education and skills-progression focused version of the sport. USA Football's Rookie Tackle was created to provide a playing structure and format to serve as a youth football development bridge between flag football and 11-player tackle.
When he is not on the football field or classroom, LaVerde also volunteers his time as a youth basketball coach in the Kirtland community.
Quotes from individuals who have been impacted by LaVerde are included below.
As the 2018 Cleveland Browns Coach of the Year, LaVerde will receive a $4,500 grant ($3,000 to the winner, plus $1,500 to all finalists) to benefit Kirtland High School's football program and is automatically nominated to represent the team for the national Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year Award. He will receive an all-expenses paid trip to the 2018 Pro Bowl in Orlando, courtesy of the NFL and the Browns, and may potentially receive another $15,000 in grants, if named the NFL's honoree.
As part of the Browns High School Game of the Week, all Browns High School Coach of the Year finalists were recognized at Sunday's game for their commitment to youth and high school football in Northeast Ohio. The Browns made a $1,500 donation to support each finalist's football team.
Throughout the season, Browns fans and Northeast Ohio high school football supporters submitted votes for nominated matchups to be featured
The Browns High School Coach of the Year award is based on a coach's overall body of work during the regular season and postseason, as well as character and community involvement, after being featured in the Cleveland Browns High School Game of the Week, in association with LECOM.
Cleveland completed its ninth consecutive year of the High School Game of the Week this fall. Weekly matchups are posted on ClevelandBrowns.com, with fans deciding which game the Browns should highlight by voting on the team's website or on social media. Panel members for game selections are Browns senior staff writer Andrew Gribble, Browns producer Jason Gibbs and Good Karma Brands ESPN 850 WKNR's Matt Fontana and Jordan Zirm.
Through Browns Give Back, the Cleveland Browns are committed to assisting the development, safety and growth of youth and high school football throughout Northeast Ohio with year-round programming for players, coaches, officials and parents. Through camps, clinics and other initiatives, the Browns' goal is to promote healthy, social, emotional, intellectual and physical development of youth by enhancing opportunities for youth football participation and education.
2018 Cleveland Browns High School Coach of the Year finalists:
Matt Kostelnik - Avon Lake (9-1)
Mitch Hewitt - Chardon (7-3)
Louis Cirino - Strongsville (7-3)
Dave McFarland - Lorain (6-4)
Jeff Fox - Nordonia (9-1)
Tiger LaVerde* - Kirtland (15-0)
Tim Tyrrell - Archbishop Hoban (15-0)
Mark Iammarino - Chagrin Falls (4-6)
Chuck Kyle - St. Ignatius (8-2)
*Denotes 2018 High School Coach of the Year
Quotes on Kirtland High School football head coach Tiger LaVerde:
"Coach LaVerde has been more than just a coach to not only me, but everyone else who has ever played for him. He puts in so much time and effort to make sure we become good football players but better people. Former players always come in during school just to eat lunch and catch up with him because of the impact he had on their lives. He always preaches about hard work. That's something that he's instilled in every one of his players. He's meant so much to me, my teammates, this school system and our community. Kirtland is blessed to have someone like him." – Kirtland High School senior and running back Joey Torok
"As a player, he taught us to be remembered as a good person in life, not just a good athlete. As I coach now, I look back and teach my players the same thing where I want them to treat people the right way. He has made a huge impact on hundreds of players." – Kirtland High School alumnus and Painesville Riverside assistant football and basketball coach Rossi Sant
"Coach LaVerde has been an instrumental figure in both my personal and professional life. Having the opportunity to play for Coach LaVerde allowed me to develop as a football player but even more as a person. Coach always challenged me to become better at everything I do in life and in football but most importantly to always compete. I carry these values with me today both as a person and as a coach … Coach LaVerde has influenced the way I coach and why I coach greatly and I strive to instill the same values and disciplines he taught me in the players I coach. Most importantly, Coach LaVerde was always available to provide support, advice or even a challenge when needed and always showed he cared about his players. His desire to not just be a football coach, but a mentor to all of his players, is what makes him great. Coach LaVerde's impact at Kirtland is felt off the field as well." –Kirtland High School alumnus and Brush High School football passing game coordinator/quarterback coach Paul Guhde
About the Cleveland Browns and Browns Give Back:
The Browns Give Back to Northeast Ohio with a commitment to education and youth football while engaging the community through the team's signature First and Ten volunteer movement. For more information, visit www.clevelandbrowns.com/brownsgiveback.
Education – The Cleveland Browns are dedicated to improving the quality of education for students in Northeast Ohio by making investments that keep kids in school every day so they can succeed. The team engages local schools and promotes education in various capacities throughout the year to help identify and remove attendance barriers and support engagement opportunities for students to thrive by monitoring attendance patterns to help understand how best to support students and schools.
Youth Football – The Cleveland Browns are committed to assisting the development, safety and growth of youth and high school football throughout Northeast Ohio with year-round programming for players, coaches, officials and parents. Through camps, clinics and other initiatives, the Browns' goal is to promote healthy, social, emotional, intellectual and physical development of youth by enhancing opportunities for youth football participation and education.
First and Ten – Launched in June 2014, the Cleveland Browns First and Ten campaign is the team's community program, established to inspire fans to #give10 and help their communities by volunteering for 10 hours each year. Through First and Ten, the Browns are the only NFL club to promote a long-term volunteering program that unifies the team and its entire fan base, with the goal of impacting every individual's city across the globe, as well as the franchise's local community. To date, nearly two million hours of volunteering have been pledged through First and Ten. All Browns fans are encouraged to join the volunteering effort by signing the First and Ten pledge on the team's website and by sharing their stories with #give10.