PRIDE AND JOY: Foundation Academy Brad Lord goes to South Lake

For nearly two decades, Brad Lord has been synonymous with Foundation Academy football. But the longtime coach is leaving the Lions — with a full heart.

Brad Lord cultivated long-lasting friendships during his time at Foundation, including that with President Dave Buckles.
Brad Lord cultivated long-lasting friendships during his time at Foundation, including that with President Dave Buckles.
Photo by Andrea Mujica
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After 17 years at Foundation Academy, former head football coach Brad Lord will close his chapter with the Lions and will soon start a new one at South Lake High School as the school’s new football program director and associate head coach. 

“I’m blessed I was here; it was a great ride,” he said. “It’s very hard for me to decide to leave but that school needs my help, and I can help this young coach (Laquentin Taylor). I want to pay it forward now in my life.” 

Lord arrived to Foundation Academy in 2006, and started to coach the football team as an assistant coach. Two years later, he was tapped to be the Lions’ new head coach — a position he embraced immediately.

“The coach left, and the school had put out an advertising (that they were looking for a new head coach),” he said. “The kids went to the athletic director and said, ‘We are playing only if Coach Lord stays as the head coach.’ That was pretty emotional for me.” 

Despite a much smaller team — only 25 on the roster — the Lions ended their regular season at 5-6 that year.

“We won a playoff game in the Sunshine Conference also, and you would’ve thought we had won the Super Bowl,” Lord said. “Fans were doing crazy. I had a great assistant coach and staff, and the kids bought in.” 

With a locked-in mentality on what Lord was trying to implement as the new head coach of the football program, the team began seeing the results of the hard work and bringing more wins home season after season. 

“We started winning,” he said. 

Brad Lord loves the game of football and he loves coaching it.
Courtesy photo


When Lord was appointed as the new head coach for the Lions — a role he held through the end of the 2019 season — the weight room at the school only had one lifting rack and one bench press. The squat rack, Lord recalls, was purchased at a yard sale. 

“I was fortunate over here; we have a great staff,” he said. “When the program got bigger, we were getting kids, because we were winning, and the teams in the area were not that good.” 

Today, the weight room at Foundation Academy — Tilden Campus — is much bigger, with several lifting racks and a wall where former players are recognized for their achievements. 

After considering starting a new chapter in his life, Lord realized he wanted to be impactful and to continue loving football from a different standpoint — and a different office. 

“All the coaches — we lose the egos about the wins and loses and more or less want to work with the kids and the families and the coaching staff,” he said. “I want to help breed a group of young coaches their athletes can be proud of.” 

However, not everybody is feeling overjoyed about his departure. 

“It’s going to be a sad day for us,” Tilden Campus Principal Sarah Reynolds said of Lord’s last day. 


Lord has accumulated countless memories that he will carry with him for the rest of his life. One is when a former player — Bailey Trinder, who was paralyzed after an accident — wrote to Tom Brady and asked if he could show his support to Lord. 

“He wanted to do something nice for me,” Lord said. “Bailey got his game shirt, No. 68, and Tom Brady wrote a message saying, ‘Coach Lord, I appreciate what you do for our youth.’ It was a big moment for me — for a kid to go out of his way and do all that for a coach was unbelievable.”

Another memory Lord treasures — and one that hits close to home, too — is how one of his former players calls him on Father’s Day every year.

“He didn’t have a father,” Lord said. “He went on to college, and he’s doing great things. … Numerous kids who called me on Father’s Day didn’t have fathers. That’s why I do what I do.” 

Brad Lord earned the love and respects of his players year after year while coaching at Foundation.
Courtesy photo


“I always said in any job that I took, I wanted to leave it better than how (it was when) I started it,” Lord said. “I think I did that here.” 

And what is the legacy Lord wishes he is leaving behind after Jan. 31 — his last day at Foundation? 

“I hope they think that they had a coach and a teacher who loved kids, who loved the school and worked his hardest to make it a better place,” he said. 

For many, this legacy is already living in the minds — and hearts — of the Lions’ family. 

“The legacy that Brad built will live on over the years,” President Dave Buckles said. “We are very grateful for that.”



Andrea Mujica

Staff writer Andrea Mujica covers sports, news and features. She holds both a bachelor's degree in journalism and an MBA from the University of Central Florida. When she’s not on the sidelines, you can find Andrea coaching rowers at the Orlando Area Rowing Society in Windermere.

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