LAUREL, Miss. (WDAM) - Student-athletes and coaches around the Pine Belt are just beginning to regain a small sense of normalcy with summer workouts underway.
While Ryan Earnest returns to a familiar place, he takes on a new endeavor as head coach of his alma mater.
Laurel High school hired Earnest to take over the football program in December, following Todd Breland’s departure for South Jones. Breland hired his successor to coordinate the Golden Tornadoes’ offense in 2019.
Earnest’s return to Laurel last year ended a 13-year absence in which he made stops at Sumrall, Wayne County, Collins and Ridgeland High. He led Collins to two straight class 2A state championships in 2014 and 2015.
“It’s been a dream of mine for a long time to come back here and be the head football coach,” Earnest said. “Even in the midst of this Coronavirus, being able to come up and work and still plan toward this season, this is something I’ve always wanted to do.”
The former Southern Miss running back is eager to work with the 2020 Tornadoes after a ten-week hiatus. Earnest feels the transition will be smooth for Laurel since he’s adopted many of the same coaching philosophies as Breland.
“We just want to play football in a very fast, very violent way but we want to do it in a first-class manner,” Earnest said. “That’s something Todd Breland had established the last eight years. It’s something he instilled in me when I was a player and he was my coach. He left this thing in really, really good shape and I just want to do my part to take it to the next level.”