A dream obtained: Laurel promotes Ryan Earnest as head football coach

coach ryan earnest

Laurel High School Assistant Football Coach Ryan Earnest obtained his life’s dream when he was promoted to lead the Laurel Golden Tornadoes as head football coach. At Tuesday’s meeting of the Laurel School District Board of Trustees, the board unanimously approved the promotion of Earnest after Coach Todd Breland stepped down to take on the role of fulltime athletic director for the Laurel School District.

“This job is something I’ve always desired to do,” Earnest said. “This is my dream job. I look forward to continuing on the foundation that has been built. Coach Breland has done a tremendous job of leading this program and I look forward to building on all of the great things he has accomplished.”

Having graduated from Laurel High School in 2000, Earnest is no stranger to Laurel. Following his high school football career for the Golden Tornadoes, he went on to play college football at both Jones County Junior College and the University of Southern Mississippi. Earnest’s first job as an assistant football coach began at Laurel High School where he was part of the coaching staff for two years before moving on to further his coaching career.

“Laurel is a very special place to me. My family is here,” Earnest said. “I have great memories from my childhood and my adult life here. I look forward to being a part of the memories our players will take away from their time here in Laurel.”

After graduating from high school, Earnest received an associate degree from Jones County Junior College and a Bachelor of Arts in English, master’s degree in interscholastic athletics administration and a specialist’s degree in educational leadership all from the University of Southern Mississippi. He is currently in the dissertation phase of a doctorate degree at USM.

Prior to rejoining the Laurel High School football program as assistant coach in 2019, he coached at Sumrall High School, Wayne County High School, Collins High School and Ridgeland High School. During his time at Collins, he helped lead the Collins Tigers in back-to-back state championships in 2014 and 2015. In September of this year, the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association recognized Earnest as a Certified Athletic Administrator having demonstrated the highest level of knowledge and expertise in the field of interscholastic athletic administration through the NIAAA.

“I am very grateful to Superintendent Dr. Toy Watts for entrusting me with this opportunity,” Earnest said. “I am thankful to Coach Breland for giving me this opportunity to come back and work as an assistant and believing in me to succeed him and lead this football program.”

“Coach Earnest has been an outstanding young man and it has been a joy to watch him grow and develop as a man and a football coach,” Breland added. “I know he will do great things both on and off the field with the students at Laurel High School.”