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Bud Laidlaw: Athlete, coach, booster, now Hall of Famer



Laidlaw
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Laidlaw (click for larger version)
August 03, 2011 - Although Gerald L. "Bud" Laidlaw, a 1951 graduate of Oxford High School, earned an impressive seven total varsity letters in football, basketball and baseball, he is most remembered as one of the greatest volunteers and youth sports leaders in Oxford's history.

It is due to his dedication to Oxford youth and the Oxford Wildcat Athletic Booster Club Laidlaw is earning his spot in the OHS Athletic Hall of Fame.

Laidlaw began his coaching career when he was a youth, taking it upon himself to organize neighborhood kids to play on the sandlot.

Soon after, Oxford Midget League, which is now known as the Oxford Recreational Baseball Association (ORBA), founder Charles Curtis invited him to coach. The team he inherited went winless the previous year, but finished undefeated in the first season under Laidlaw's tutelage.

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Laidlaw quickly became one of the most successful and respected coaches in the organization for his fundamental approach and easy demeanor.

ORBA has thrived today, in part, due to the efforts of Laidlaw. For 35 years, he held positions as coach, league equipment manager and president of the organization.

Laidlaw took his passion for working with youth to the Oxford Wildcat Athletic Booster Club, where he would earn Life Member status. He rarely missed organizational meetings and did whatever was required to raise money for the needs of the athletic program.

The selfless leader did everything from working in the concession stand to selling raffle tickets with amazing success. He would raise thousands of dollars through his extensive community relationships and his legendary sense of humor.

Although a full-time employee at General Motors for 32 years and a committed family man, Laidlaw's volunteerism wasn't limited to community sports. He was involved with the Meals on Wheels program and was a past president and lieutenant governor of the Oxford/Orion Optimist Club.

In addition, Laidlaw tutored sixth and seventh grade students at Oxford Middle School. For his efforts and achievements, Laidlaw was honored by the Oxford Chamber of Commerce with the 2000 Adult Youth Volunteer Award.

Married to the former Joan Culver for over 49 years, Laidlaw lost his battle with lung cancer in February of 2008 at the age of 74, leaving behind six children, 17 grandchildren, two step-grandchildren and eight great grandchildren.

He will forever be a shining example of servant leadership for students, coaches, boosters and community members for years to come.

Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.
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