Career Record - 14-16
League Membership During Career - Midland Athletic League
The Tiffin Advertiser-Tribune
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Calvert finds its own coach 'K'
By Dave Feltner, Advertiser-Tribune reporter
Considering where he comes from, the new Calvert football coach has a familiarity with where the Senecas have been.
Keenan Leichty, a former head college coach, takes over the Calvert football program after two seasons as an assistant at Versailles, a tradition-rich high school where he won a state championship as a safety and running back in 1990.
Leichty replaces Pat Herron, who resigned in January due to family issues. Herron, an assistant for five seasons under the man he succeeded, Toby Hammond, went 3-7 and 5-5 in two seasons as Calvert's coach.
Calvert has had success with coaches coming from out of town. Roger "Buzz" Kirkhart compiled a 78-34-5 record from 1974-84, including five-straight Sandusky Bay Conference titles (1977-81) and back-to-back state titles in 1980 and 1981. Kirkhart's successor, Bob Olwin, went 24-18 from 1985-88, including a regional final appearance in 1986.
Most recently, Hammond went 66-36 from 1995-2003. His 1998 and 1999 teams were the first in school history to go 10-0, and the first of five-straight Calvert teams to make the playoffs.
"The thing that's important to me is not just getting a head coaching job anywhere," Leichty said. "I think it's important that you have good backing from your community, boosters and school, just because that's what I'm accustomed to, playing at Versailles and being in a football town. I wanted to go somewhere where football's important and winning is important, not just putting a team on the field to get their heads kicked in.
"I knew a little bit of the tradition (Calvert's) had in the past, then the late '90s and early 2000."
Leichty, a four-year starter at Ohio Northern, spent his early coaching career in the college ranks. He started as offensive line coach at MacMurray (Ill.) College before coming returning to the Polar Bears as quarterbacks coach.
He hooked on at Dayton, where he coached special teams, before landing the top job at Urbana University. Leichty then made a career change of sorts, taking the head position at a North Carolina high school before returning to Versailles the past two seasons.
"Being a college coach, with recruiting, it's all-year-round," Leichty said. "You're always on the road, going to see some other parents' child. Plus, stability. In college, you never know when you're going to get let go. You look at Frank Solich at Nebraska. He did fairly well and won, and he still got let go. So, it was more of a family decision and a stability decision to get back into the high school coaching ranks.
"And you coach a little more in high school. I get to go out and look at the pick of the crop in college. In high school, you've got to coach the kids you're dealt with. You're more involved in actually coaching, per sŽ."
Leichty's high school alma mater ranks fourth in Ohio with six state championships, and the conference the Tigers play in - the Midwest Athletic Conference - has won 7 of 11 Division IV championships.
Leichty, 33, is a self-professed hard-nosed coach who neither offers nor accepts excuses.
"My philosophy is to successfully pound you and beat you down physically and take away your will and desire to play the rest of the game," he said. "Now, I've pretty much got you beat, and I can do whatever I want with you. You have to have the players to do that, but that's what you do in the offseason. You mentally and physically develop the players in the program to be that type of hard-nosed player."
A standing selection committee, which rotates specific members, chose Leichty from a list of 10 interviewed applicants, seven out-of-town and three internal.
The committee consisted of principal Tony Mass, athletic director Ted Willman, the rev. James Haloran, athletic booster representative Randy Hunt, principal advisory council representative Dan McElhatten, local college representative Nate Cole and ad hoc representative Nick Fabrizo.
"When I interviewed here, I was really impressed with the process they put together," Leichty said. "I was impressed with the questions they asked. I've been in some interviews where it was not very organized, and it was like they just wanted somebody off the street. But I thought Calvert was prepared, and they thought it was important. I felt they were going to be supportive of anyone they hired, and I just had a good feel."
The 2005 Senecas were senior-driven and featured a strong passing attack. Only three juniors played, though, and the freshman team also functioned as a junior varsity team at times.
Leichty, though, has a specific goal.
"Win. That's the goal," he said. "I don't put a five-year plan together. You put a five-year plan together, that gives you four years of excuses why you didn't do what you're supposed to do. We go one year at a time. What do we have to do to win 10 games coming up here? When that's over, we go on to the next year. It changes every year, but to me, developing the players in the offseason is the most important thing."
Leichty and his wife, Angie, have four children, twins Keenan and Brooke, 10, Katie, 4, and Gabby, 8 months.
Leichty will be one of four new coaches in the Midland Athletic League in 2006. Carey's Todd Fugate was let go after one season, replaced by long-time assistant Todd Vorst. Todd Drusback left Edgerton to take over his alma mater, Fremont St. Joe, and replace the retired Rick Wonderly. At North Baltimore, Dino Woodruff stepped down after four seasons.
A-T Sports Writer Mike Genet contributed to this story
Calvert football coach resigns to take job at Brookside
Leichty went 14-16 in three seasons with team
By Mike Genet, A-T Associate Sports Editor, June 9, 2009
Calvert football coach Keenan Leichty will step down from his post after three seasons to become coach at Brookside High School in Lorain County, leaving the Senecas in a challenging position less than three months before the 2009 season opener.
Leichty was approved Monday as Brookside's coach, and his approval as business teacher was pending but expected, said Gloria Behrendent, board vice president.
Pat Herron, who will assume Calvert's athletic director duties July 1 and who also served as an assistant to Leichty last season, said Monday afternoon that no official resignation had been received.
Leichty said he informed the team of his decision to step down during Monday morning's summer workout. He told them he only had been offered a part-time teaching position at Calvert for the next school year, though he didn't tell them of his new job because it wasn't official at the time.
"I hate to leave the kids," said Leichty, whose Calvert teams compiled a 14-16 record, including 12-9 in the Midland Athletic League. "The senior class coming was working hard. It was a hard morning telling those kids that I wasn't gonna be on the sideline with them.
"They're good kids, and they're mature enough to know you've got to make ends meet."
Leichty and his wife, Angie, have four children. He said he had been told in late April about the possibility of being cut to part-time teaching, and then was offered part-time June 1. From there, things moved quickly.
"It's not I was looking to get out of Calvert, so much as needing a full-time job," Leichty said. "I could count on one hand the number of schools in the state that had openings for a business teacher, and Brookside was the only one with a head football coach opening."
Calvert AD Ted Willman could not be reached for comment, and Tony Mass, high school principal, did not wish to comment because he had not yet been informed of Leichty's decision.
Calvert hired Leichty, a former Urbana University head coach and Versailles High School assistant, in March 2006 after Herron resigned following two seasons.
His first team, which had just five seniors, went 3-7. In 2007 an experienced group of Senecas started 0-2 before winning six of their next seven. Only a 14-13 loss to Carey, in which the Senecas held a fourth-quarter lead, kept them from making the playoffs.
In 2008, Calvert started 1-3 before winning four of its next five, again falling in its last game to finish 5-5.
Last year's team had 13 juniors, six sophomores and 12 freshmen on the roster, with 12 seniors graduating.
Brookside was a Division IV school last season in the Patriot Athletic Conference. The Cardinals went 0-10 in 2008, but Leichty should have almost the entire team back for the upcoming season.
"The coach that left (Keith Grabowski), I think he did a nice job," Leichty said. "He had a real young team last year, I think only four seniors. He just got another opportunity at the college level to pursue."