River Hill cross country coach Earl Lauer was recently named the sport’s National Coach of the Year by the National Federation of State High School Associations. Lauer was one of 20 coaches selected for the 2011-2012 school year.

It’s the latest honor for Lauer, one of the area’s successful coaches. He’s been the only cross country coach at the Clarksville school (school opened in 1995-96 school year), winning seven (four boys and three girls) state championships and produced six individual state champions.

Lauer won four state crowns (three girls and one boy) at Atholton and mentored Dana Strickland, the 1994 Class 2A state champion. He coached cross country, wrestling, indoor and outdoor track at Atholton from 1971 to 1995, producing 54 Howard County and region championships and five state titles.

Lauer was River Hill’s first wrestling coach, compiling a 139-27-2 record in 10 seasons with five Howard County tournament crowns, four Howard County dual meet titles and one state dual meet championship. He was named All-Metro Coach of the Year in 2004.

Lauer, who was succeeded by son Brandon, a former All-America at West Virginia University and state champion at River Hill, has been inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, Howard County Wrestling Association Hall of Fame and River Hill Athletic Hall of Fame.