Prep coach Jarrett Laws is basically building his program from scratch at Freedom High School
The first year with a new team for a head coach can be vital. It's the year when systems are implemented and player-coach bonds are forged. Those transitions are easier when the coach has a proven track record, like first-year Buccaneers Head Coach Jon Gruden, and the team has proven locker-room leadership, such as LB Derrick Brooks and S John Lynch.
The transition in Tampa would have been more difficult for Gruden if he hadn't already made a name for himself as a head coach, or if the team's internal leadership wasn't as well established. Without those factors, Coach Gruden would have walked into a situation similar to that of first-year head coach Jarrett Laws of Freedom High School.
Coach Laws assumed the head coaching position at Freedom this past off-season, and since Freedom is a first-year school he has no senior class and only five juniors on his team. Despite those limitations, Coach Laws has persevered, and on Wednesday he was honored as the Buccaneers High School football "Coach of the Week."
At a ceremony on the practice field at One Buccaneer Place on Wednesday, Coach Laws was presented with a framed "Coach of the Week" certificate, signed by NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, General Manager Rich McKay and coach Gruden, along with a "Coach of the Week" hat and a football autographed by Gruden.
"The fact that the NFL is taking the time to notice that there are still things going on at the lower levels, at the prep level, where we're doing it to raise good citizens and good student-athletes, is great," said Laws. "We appreciate that at our level and it just helps us wake up and go to work everyday to know that guys at this level still care about what is going on with us."
Prior to becoming the head coach at Freedom, Laws was an assistant coach at Sickles and Wharton High Schools. He was also an All-State defensive back at Daytona Beach Seabreeze High School before heading to Wingate University, where he lettered in football and basketball.
In addition to the certificate, hat and ball, Coach Laws will also receive a $1,000 donation to his football program.
If you know a coach that you feel is deserving of being the Buccaneers "Coach of the Week" please click here and submit his or her name, school, county and reason he or she should be selected.
Several factors are taken into account when selecting the Buccaneers Coach of the Week recipient, including the coach's impact on his team, school and community. The program is designed to recognize high school coaches who transform, through their hard work and dedication to young people, the best available athletes into high-potential football players.
All schools in Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Manatee and Sarasota are eligible regardless of size, league or division.