The five things you should know about Laing Kennedy

Josh Johnston

Check out a video interview of Laing Kennedy a listen to what Kent State coaches have to say about the Athletic Director.

Laing Kennedy finds success wherever he goes. Call it luck or timing, but the Kent State director of athletics’ 26-year résumé might say otherwise: nine national titles, 121 conference championships, 185 All-Americans and a membership in the NCAA Selection Committee.

Last week, Kennedy announced his retirement after 15 years at Kent State. Set to leave July 1, 2010, Kennedy sat down with the sports team recently. Here’s five things you might not know about the elder statesman of Kent State athletics:

1. He likes his coffee

“I like to get to my office between 6 or 6:30 in the morning. I live 2.5 miles from my office, and I drive by a very nice Circle K. I will stop and buy a 24-ounce of hazelnut high-octane coffee and three newspapers: the Plain Dealer, the Beacon, the Record-Courier. My routine would be to come to my desk, read the papers, drink my coffee and then check my e-mails. And then I’ll get ready for the tasks of today.”

2. He wears his rings

“I’m very proud of the 85 (Mid-American Conference) Championships. I have a very nice ring collection, and I wear one all the time.

“I’ll be honest with you, the ring that I really enjoy wearing is our softball MAC Championship ring from last year. I think it’s a beautiful ring, well designed. People see it, ‘Oh, that’s a championship ring.’ Yeah, right. I’ve got 85 just like it.”

3. He never tires out

“I get tired, but never tired of it. If I’m traveling late at night with a team and we get home and we’ve had success, there’s no problem getting up in the morning.”

4. He changes lives

“The one thing I look back on and I’m most proud of. is the opportunity to meet with student-athletes. It’s in the environment where they’re maybe having academic issues, health issues, legal issues, eligibility issues, and you see with those student-athletes the opportunity to turn their lives around – where they’ve really made a change in how they’re making decisions. (They) turned it around, the light went on so to speak, and became the member of a championship team or an All-American.”

5. He’s ready to retire

“You know, when you get to be my age, you start thinking about, ‘Oh gee, I wonder what I’d like to do now.’ I love what I do each and every day.

“It really has been my passion, Kent State intercollegiate athletics. So you think to yourself, ‘Man, I’d like to do this forever.’ I feel good, I’ve got great energy, I love all the other people I work with. Obviously, you have to start thinking about (retirement). The last few months, we’ve really been thinking about it, Saundra, my wife, my family and I. This feels really right.”

Contact assistant sports leader Josh Johnston at [email protected].