Softball Australia is excited to announce Laing Harrow as Head Coach of the Australian Open Men’s team for the next four years.
Laing brings a wealth of coaching knowledge to this position, having previously coached alongside his father, Bob, as do-Head Coach of the Australian Open Men from 2013-2015 and Assistant Coach of the Australian Junior Men’s Softball team that won three World Championship gold medals from 2001-2008.
Tony Milligan, Softball Australia’s National Teams’ & Events Manager believes that Laing’s appointment puts the Aussie Steelers in a great position leading into the next two World Championships. Laing wants the team “to get back to where we were a few years ago” and he believes it’s going to take a lot of hard work from everyone involved.
Laing epitomizes all that is Australian men’s softball. A consummate professional both on and off the diamond, there is no young softball player that does not know his name or aspire to be like him.
Laing immigrated to Australia in 1987 when Softball Canberra secured the coaching services of his father, Bob. A year later he represented Australia at the 1988 ISF Men’s World Championship (Saskatoon, Canada) at the age of 18 years, after being selected from the ACT U19 state team.
In an era when the Australian men’s softball program only generated activity within the 12 months leading into a world championship, Laing went on to represent Australia at the 1992 ISF Men’s World Championship (Manila, Philippines) and captained the Australian men’s team at the 1996 ISF Men’s World Championship (Michigan, USA) which, for the first time since their introduction to world championship competition, secured a final’s berth.
Laing appeared in 22 games over three ISF Men’s World Championships, hitting .316 at both the 1992 and 1996 events, serving as captain at the latter. He played in more than a dozen additional international events in the ‘90s.
Laing retired from international competition after accumulating 37 caps for Australia. Up until the 2004 ISF Men’s Softball World Championship in Christchurch, Canada, he was one of only three Australian male softball players to have participated in three senior men’s world championships.
Laing also stepped down from state competition in 1998 after 12 years’ service with the ACT, which included three senior men’s national titles, 1998, 1990 and 1993, and two major awards – Best Batter 1998 and Most Valuable Player 1993.
In 2001, Laing was Assistant Coach under Lindsey Carroll of the victorious Australian U19 Men’s Team that took gold at the VI ISF Junior Men’s World Championship in Sydney. He made his senior coaching debut alongside his father during a tour of New Zealand, also in 2001, which saw the Australian Men’s Team defeat the New Zealand Black Sox for the first time in their 13-year competitive history.
In addition to his Australian softball achievements, Laing has also represented the Canadian Youth team and Australia at senior and junior level in ice hockey.
In October 2002, Softball Canberra nominated Laing for Softball Australia Hall of Fame induction for services rendered to softball. His nomination was successful, and he became only the second male, and first male softball player to receive this national softball honour.
In 2003, Laing was further recognised with perhaps one of softball’s greatest honours: his name was bestowed on Australian softball’s newest men’s competition, the Australian U23 Men’s Fastpitch Championship, known as the Laing Harrow Shield.
In October the same year, Laing achieved the ultimate hat-trick when he became the first Australian men’s softball player to be inducted into the International Softball Federation Hall of Fame.
Laing is very excited about the opportunity to once again be part of the Steelers’ program and he is looking forward to working with elite athletes. Softball Australia is pleased to retain Laing’s wealth of softball experience and knowledge and hopes he brings much success to the Aussie Steelers over the next four years.