This upcoming football season, the mighty Jaguars of East Gadsden will take the field under new leadership as first-year head coach Tracy Laing takes over for the recently departed Corey Fuller, who has moved on to become a part of the Florida A&M coaching staff.
“It’s just like changing hats,” Laing said of the promotion. “I have a good relationship with the kids. I think we’re going to have a good season; the kids are starting to buy in and believe.”
Fuller said he is confident Laing’s abilities. “He’ll do a great job. He showed great dedication for the three years I watched him coach the defensive line.”
Of the football season ahead, Laing said, “The Jaguar fans can look forward to seeing an established running game with multiple sets and an overall aggressive style of play from both the offense and defense.” The team motto for the upcoming season is simply: “Play like a Jag.”
Laing is a native of Port St. Lucie, which is where he starred as a high-school football player. After high school, Laing went on to play two years at Cisco Junior College in northern Texas; he then transferred to northern Michigan to complete his collegiate career.
After college, Laing played in Canadian and Arena Leagues as both a defensive end and a defensive tackle. In 1996 after hanging up his cleats, he decided to head back to his alma mater in Northern Texas to start his coaching career as a defensive assistant. In 1998 he relocated to Newport, Va., for two years and became a part of the defensive staff at Apprentice College.
Laing then found his way back to the Sunshine State to begin coaching at the high school level; he was a part of both the Hamilton and Taylor County defensive staffs prior to becoming a member of East Gadsden’s program. Before becoming the Jaguar’s leader, Laing developed an aggressive defensive line that played a huge part in the success that the team has had over the past three years.
In spite of the fact that the Jaguars will be playing some big schools this year, Laing has high goals set for his first year as the head coach: He hopes to lead the team to its third district championship in a row.
“Every Friday we step on the grass, we will give each school a run for its money,” he said.
In order to do so, Laing said he and the rest of the coaching staff “must teach a lot of the younger players the game, and do a better job of coaching overall.” He has brought in four new coaches to assist him: Coach Brian Collins, Quincy native and former FSU receiver Coach De’Cody Fagg, Coach Chad Smith and also Coach Toshmon Stevens.
Laing said he was very grateful for the support he has received from Superintendent Reginald James and former Principal Kendall Thomas. Laing also hopes to receive the support of the parents and the community.
In an effort to bridge the gap he plans to have Meet a Jag Day in downtown Quincy, which will allow residents to meet the players and staff.
When asked about his feelings on Coach Laing leading the Jaguar football team, Thomas said, “I’m very excited. he’s very capable, and very student-athlete centered, which makes me very happy.”
Let’s give our support to Coach Laing and the entire coaching staff and players as they head into the season. Go Jaguars!