Archive for Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Lafferee coaching at Florida International University

Basehor native will return home Saturday when his team plays Kansas

September 19, 2007

A few Basehor football fans who usually cheer for Kansas University, might be tugging for Florida International when the two teams play on Saturday.
Greg Laffere, one of Basehor's own, will be coaching Florida International's lineman when the game kicks off at 6 p.m.
A group of more than 30 people, family and friends, will gather at Mike and Karen Laffere's house for a cookout during the day and then make the trip to Lawrence for the game that begins at 6 p.m.
Laffere's wife, Stacy, and his two daughters are coming in for the Kansas' game. Homecoming game's like Saturday's are a special occasion for the Laferre's who don't always make it back to Basehor.
Greg Laffere attended Basehor-Linwood. He was a star on the football field and an exceptional basketball player.
"He was a great leader in our school," LHS athletic director Joe Keeler said. "It was a very exciting time for Basehor-Linwood athletics when Greg was in school."
In the early 1990s, Basehor made trips to the state playoffs in football and the state basketball tournament. In basketball, he was tough to guard. Keeler remembers watching him play basketball, sometimes scoring 40 points in a game.
Laferre went on to play college football.
He played two years of football at Butler County Community College and then attended the University of Miami.
He started both years at Miami and was MVP of the Florida State game his senior season.
Once a photo of him being kissed by the Hurricane's mascot during a game was taken and appeared on the front page of a Miami newspaper.
"He always joked that would be his claim to fame," said Don Swartz, Greg's old high school principal.
When Laferre's playing career ended, he started coaching college football.
After a couple stops, most recently at Illinois State, he is at Central Florida. The program just became division one a few years ago and it is a challenge.
"I think his goal is to do the best he can at Florida International," Mike Laffere, Greg's father, said. "It is a challenge and big challenges can be big opportunities at that level."
Florida International is committed to building a new stadium, coaches' offices and the program in general.
Coaches work long hours, but it is a labor of love. They want to make Florida International football relevant in a state where Miami, Florida and Florida State lurk.
"In that business you work as hard as you can, and hope to come back next year. They came in and have a plan. Everything I have heard, he is really happy with the other coaches and people."
For those who knew him, they can't imagine him having anything but continued success in coaching.
Swartz said that he always thought Laffere had an aptitude for coaching.
"He seemed way mature for his age, they sometimes talk about that cliche a boy in man's body, but he had a man's body and a man's mind," Swartz said. "I am glad to see him have success, but not against us."

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