Coach of the Year: Wrestling

March 24, 2011|Baltimore Sun reporter

Mike Laidley
Archbishop Spalding

A decade ago, Mike Laidley simply wanted his two sons, Mike and Chris, to be able to wrestle at Archbishop Spalding. It was a wish, he found, that would require his own contribution.

"My oldest, Mike, was a freshman and the coach was leaving," said Laidley, 51, a commercial landscaper. "I told athletic director Lee Dove that I would volunteer to help whoever came on as the new coach. But no one answered the ad for a coach, and he asked if I'd take it on. With no experience, I said I would try."

Said Dove: "I was about to shut the program down for a couple years when Mike agreed to take the job. He said he'd find good assistants with the technical background and that he'd give it his best. He's done an outstanding job."

It was a long building process, but this season the Cavaliers were a force no one could stop. They won their first MIAA dual-meet season title, their first MIAA tournament title and their first Maryland Independent Schools state championship while building a 33-0 record. Included among those wins were first-time dual-meet victories over DeMatha, McDonogh, Old Mill and Archbishop Curley.

"The difference between the first time I saw that team when I started coaching and now is the level of dedication," Curley coach Gregg Kessler said. "That coach and his staff must stay on top of them. Each year they've gotten a little bit better."

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