Ryan Earnest

Ryan Earnest talks to players. (Photo by Brad Crowe)

The Laurel Tornadoes added a familiar face to their coaching staff ahead of the season. Coach Ryan Earnest, a Laurel graduate and former Tornadoes’ football player, has been hired as the team’s new offensive coordinator. 

Earnest served as an assistant coach for both Laurel and Wayne County before moving to Collins and winning back-to-back Class 2A state titles as head coach of the Tigers. He spent three years as head coach and director of athletics at Ridgeland High School before choosing to step down in January. Earnest says the opportunity to return to Laurel was quite the homecoming for him and his family. 

“This is home, so it takes on whole meaning,” said Earnest. “I started my career coaching here. I moved on, wanted to venture out and see other places, learn some different ways of doing things. I’ve been blessed to be in some great situations as a head coach. But I’m really excited about my new role, working with someone I’ve known for so long and have a tremendous amount of respect for.”

The respect is certainly mutual between Earnest and head coach Todd Breland, who said he has attempted to bring Earnest onto the staff at Laurel several times and could not be more excited that it finally worked out. 

“I’ve known (Earnest) since his eighth-grade year in school,” said Breland, who coached Earnest as a player both in middle school and high school. “He’s always been a person of high character. There was no hesitation to bring him home.”

Within his Twitter handle, Earnest referred to Laurel as “Wide Receiver High,” and he says he hopes to help continue that legacy of producing elite playmakers who can open up the team’s passing game. 

“All the success starts with our wide receivers’ coach Kylan Pollard, who does a phenomenal job coaching those receivers,” said Earnest. “After that, it’s just the level of expectations here. Laurel has produced more Division 1 wide receivers in the last decade than probably any other school in the state. 

“You look at Dontario Drummond, Omar Bayless, Octavious Cooley, and these kids see that and think, ‘I wanna be that next guy.’ And you see that every day.”

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