The Laddie Lawrence Track!

Current and former athletes, grateful parents, top-class and recreational runners, and local politicians all jogged (okay, drove) to Staples High School this morning.

The lanes around the football field were officially dedicated as the “Laddie Lawrence Track.” It was a fitting tribute to the man who, more than 50 years ago, began his career as an athlete there.

Best of all, Lawrence was on hand to enjoy the honor. He continues to coach 3 sports at his alma mater.

Laddie Lawrence thanks the crowd at the new “Laddie Lawrence track.” (Photo/Andrew Colabella)

After earning a full scholarship to Southern Arkansas University, the 1964 Staples graduate embarked on a teaching and coaching career in Westport. As head of Staples’ cross country, indoor and outdoor track programs — for decades, girls as well as boys — Lawrence has won (perhaps) more championships than all other coaches at the school combined.

He’s amassed 34 undefeated seasons; 34 FCIAC titles; 42 state class or open championships; 2 New England titles … you get the idea.

Past and current athletes presented Laddie Lawrence with a giant card of appreciation. (Photo/Andrea Moore)

He’s a member of the national, state and Fairfield County Halls of Fame.

Laddie Lawrence (blue striped shirt) with (from left) Andrea Moore, Board of Finance vice chair who ran for Lawrence in the 1980s; 1st Selectman Jim Marpe; Lawrence’s wife Katie; RTM member Andrew Colabella; 2nd Selectwoman Jen Tooker.

Since 1966, Laddie — he’s known by one name, like Pele, Bono or Cher — has headed up the Road Runners Club. That’s about as long as he’s been in charge of the Westport Parks & Recreation summer road race series. And its Thursday evening age group track meets.

Congratulations, Laddie. Here’s to thousands of more wins, dozens of more trophies, and many more years enjoying “your” track.

(Photo/Andrew Colabella)

FUN FACT: Two nearby athletic facilities at Staples are named for other coaching legends: Albie Loeffler Field (soccer) and Jinny Parker Field (field hockey). Both were physical education teachers when Lawrence attended the high school — and later became his coaching colleagues.I

9 responses to “The Laddie Lawrence Track!

  1. Rich Stein

    Congrats Laddie…I don’t think there is another Coach in my lifetime that has had such a broad impact on a Town, let alone a team, school, or sport. Well deserved!

  2. Arline Gertzoff

    It was a fabulous day .I have known Laddie since 5th grade snd five elementary school classmates plus hs classmates were there for this great event

    • Fred Cantor

      I saw Miggs; I was wondering how many ‘64 classmates were there. It was a nice turnout of generations across the spectrum.

      • Arline Gertzoff

        There were about 15 class of 64 classmates 5 of those went back to Bedford Elementary School. A dozen of us had a mini reunion at Arezzos Laddie stopped in so we were able to toast him It was a glorious day for Staples 64

  3. Charles Cole

    Clearly it all worked so well because Laddie went to college at my hometown of Magnolia, Arkansas 🤩. Way to go for all these years!!!

  4. Peter Gambaccini

    So many of us owe Laddie so much. He’s tirelessly served runners at every level of the sport, and lifted the top tier to heights I wouldn’t have believed possible in Connecticut. And as great as he himself was as a Stapleite, just imagine how much faster he would have been if he’d raced on a surface like the Laddie Lawrence Track.

  5. Steven Wheeler

    What a great and-well deserved honor for Laddie! A Westport icon for many years LL has truly made a difference not only at Staples but throughout the entire 06880 community. Proud to say I was there in 1970 when Laddie made his return to Westport by helping to coach the track team that spring. Thanks to all who showed up yesterday to honor Laddie. Steve Wheeler, Staples, 1970

  6. Michael J. Krein

    Congratulations my friend.. Well deserved for all that you have done and meant to SHS!!! Jan and Mike Krein