Longtime Staples HS coach surprised by former students

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WESTPORT -

A Westport coach was brought to tears when he unknowingly walked into a room to nearly 200 of his former students, family and friends to celebrate a huge milestone in his life.

John "Laddie" Lawrence has dedicated the last 50 years of his life to coaching at Staples High School, but his track team says his reach extends beyond the field.

"He's had a huge impact, just every day at practice he's such an inspiration,” said Cole Ehrlich.

The party, which was planned for over a year, included food, drinks, cake, speeches and at least 200 guests

"When I walked in, it was more overwhelming than I thought. I choked up," Lawrence told News 12. "One of the reasons why I went into this line of work was because of how important coaches were to me when I was growing up and to be able to give back is what it's all about."

Lawrence says he's not slowing down anytime soon. He says he's coaching at least for the next four years.

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