La Quinta’s Hall of Fame Night Honors Legacy of Legendary Baseball Coach
- Tuesday, December 18, 2018
La Quinta High School held its third annual Hall of Fame Night on Thursday, December 13, as staff, students, and community members gathered to honor legendary La Quinta CIF-champion coach Dave Demarest as well as La Quinta alumni and professional baseball player Brandon Laird.
“La Quinta’s baseball program has a longtime reputation as one of the county’s top programs, producing talented athletes for many decades,” said Bob Harden, board of education president. “Coach Demarest is a household name in Orange County high school baseball and Brandon Laird is among the many student-athletes he helped get to the highest level of the sport.”
Coach Demarest led La Quinta to three CIF-SS baseball titles, making La Quinta the first back-to-back champions in 1994 and 1995. Some of his accomplishments include being a two-time national coach of the year, being the all-time winningest baseball coach in Orange County history, and tying a state record with 15 consecutive league championships. He coached seven players who eventually made it to the MLB.
One of those players was 2005 graduate Brandon Laird, a two-time CIF and all county player of the year, as well as first team all-state and second team all-American in 2005. He was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in 2005 but chose to play baseball at Cypress College. He was again drafted in 2007, this time by the New York Yankees. He is currently playing major league baseball in Japan.
Students, parents, and La Quinta High School alumni celebrated the school’s rich history, honoring La Quinta alumni including a legendary baseball coach, a current professional baseball player, and learned about “Project Legacy” plans to propel the school toward even greater success over the next 50 years. The funds raised will be used towards the purchase of a digital baseball scoreboard in honor of Coach Demarest.
Hall of Fame Night included a women’s faculty versus girls’ varsity basketball team game which was won by the faculty and a men’s faculty versus boys’ varsity basketball team game that was a victory for the students. Hall of Fame Night is part of “Project Legacy,” a multi-year endeavor drawing on the time, talent and treasure of alumni and community with the mission of enhancing the student experience and connecting students with the school’s rich history.
The Hall of Fame evening was sponsored by 1976 alumni Gary Crisp, President/CEO and Founder of Crisp Imaging. Crisp is involved in the marketing and branding aspect of “Project Legacy” through his premier reprographics company.