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Leonard named new Aquinas football coach

Friday, May 24, 2013 1:32 PM
Last updated Saturday, May 25, 2013 12:22 AM
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He’s got the pictures and he’s heard the stories. But James Leonard is now going to take on the same role his grandfather had.

James Leonard was named Aquinas' new head football coach on Friday. He takes over for Matt LeZotte.
James Leonard was named Aquinas' new head football coach on Friday. He takes over for Matt LeZotte.

Leonard, 26, was named Aquinas’ new head football coach on Friday, meaning he’ll coach a program his grandfather Denny led for 21 seasons. Leonard’s grandfather coached Boys Catholic and was then the first coach of Aquinas following the merger of Boys Catholic and Mount St. Joseph Academy.

“He watched me play JV football here,” the new head coach said about his grandfather, who coached from 1946-1966. “I always heard stories about how it was back in the day. I got all the pictures of him in my classroom. There’s always old alumni talking about how good of a coach he was and a man he was. If I’m ever half as good as he was either way, I would be extremely happy.”

Leonard, who has been an assistant coach with the program, takes over for Matt LeZotte. LeZotte is going to Wayne County to be an assistant there. On Friday, the two voiced the benefits of a familiar face leading the Irish, as both the current coaching staff and the players won’t see many differences, from the structure to the team style.

Leonard, himself a former Irish player, recently coached the girls soccer team to the Class A private state semifinals while he was taking control of spring practice. He gave thanks to both teams’ staffs during the hectic time.

The football Irish went 17-7 the past two seasons, with a quarterfinal appearance back in 2011.

LeZotte sees no reason for the winning to stop with Leonard in charge.

“I don’t think there’s a more deserving guy,” LeZotte said. “James has been right by my side the entire time I’ve been here — we’ve done it together. There hasn’t been anything we’ve done here that he and I haven’t done together.”

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Riverman1
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Riverman1 05/24/13 - 02:25 pm
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He sounds like a great new

He sounds like a great new coach with a historic connection and the blessing of the successful coach leaving. Good luck!!!

TheVolunteer
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TheVolunteer 05/24/13 - 04:16 pm
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Go Irish

Congratulations James! Well deserved!

Go Irish!

faithson
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faithson 05/24/13 - 07:11 pm
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big boots to fill

best of luck, James.

augustadog
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augustadog 05/25/13 - 08:46 am
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Good Luck

You have the backing of the entire "HILL"
And fellow Alums everywhere.
I graduated with your Uncle Mike in 68'
Go Irish

augustadog
88
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augustadog 05/25/13 - 08:46 am
0
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Good Luck

You have the backing of the entire "HILL"
And fellow Alums everywhere.
I graduated with your Uncle Mike in 68'
Go Irish

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