It was early in the morning at the start of another busy day for Coach Stan Leech. When I arrived at his office, it was raining and still dark. But when we got inside and sat down, Stan lit up the room with his inner joy. In an instant, he made me feel like we were old friends, and as he shared his story that spans 37 years with Boerne ISD – 32 as the head basketball coach, and 23 years as Athletic Director – one thing became clear: Stan Leech loves Boerne.
Over those years, thousands of athletes, parents, and coaches have been part of Boerne Athletics. Stan has been honored as the Texas High School Athletic Directors Association Region 8 “Administrator of the Year” (twice!) and as one of the “100 Greatest Texas High School Basketball Coaches” in UIL history. But we didn’t spend any time talking about those honors. He only seemed interested in talking about the awards won by athletes and coaches in a wide variety of sports, including those who have brought home state championships.
His leadership and influence are almost legendary. But behind the medals and trophies, I could sense there was more to the story. I was right.
Stan is a direct man with a great memory and a clear sense of the why behind his career, “It all starts with a belief in Jesus Christ. This is the foundation. I’ve been given lots of grace, and for that I’m thankful.” This sense of appreciation starts at home with his wife Carla. “Jesus said, ‘Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required.’” Stan elaborated; “I’ve been given a lot, so this motivates me every day.”
There’s no doubt Coach Leech’s personality is big. But at no point in our conversation did he take personal credit for any of the successes. In fact, he showers people with appreciation, and he loves to talk about the impact his father, Jack Leach, had on him. “Throughout the years he coached us. He started Little Dribblers; he coached Little League and Babe Ruth baseball in our town in Brownfield.” Stan’s father lived by this motto, “Don’t do what makes money, do what you love.” While his Dad was an encourager, his mom, Scottie, was the disciplinarian. “Mom kept us in line – lovingly, of course,” he added with a smile
Back in high school, Stan knew he wanted to be a coach. He ran cross country and track, and his coach, James Morris, had a big influence on him. So, after Stan ran track in college – “I was extremely average, and even that’s probably a brag” – it was time to apply for jobs. He landed his first job as Head Volleyball coach at Tarleton State University. Then, he was hired at Copperas Cove High as an assistant basketball coach. His first high school basketball head coaching role in was 1984 at Yorktown High.
Two years later, Stan applied for a coaching job in a little town named Boerne. Stan smiled when he said, “I got the job because no one else wanted it. Boerne was moving into 4A, but the previous year they had no District wins in 3A.” That didn’t faze him. “When I got to Boerne, I was going stay for a cup of coffee, be close to San Antonio, and get one of those 5A jobs – hopefully, start real quick.” But sometimes the best-laid plans get changed. That’s when Stan confessed, “I fell in love with Boerne.”
It seems hard to have a conversation with Stan without him talking about Sam Champion. “Sam and I were very close. He was the assistant principal when I got here. Our wives connected quickly, and we became family friends. Sam was my principal for 15 years, and he was a great leader. Watching Sam lead was inspirational.” This helps explain why he puts so much into his work. Stan has a keen knowledge that so much of what he has he was given. “The truth is that we have been given a great opportunity of influence. Of course, we make mistakes daily, but we have been fortunate to have people who have given us lots of grace.”
It didn’t take long for the wins to start coming for the basketball team. The first year the team won three district games followed by six district wins the next year. In 1989, they made the playoffs. “Then came 1990, and that’s where it all really started. We took second in state. To this day, it’s our most successful boys' basketball team.” Boerne has had numerous teams make it to the final four, but that 1990 team is a special group of guys. “I was 29, and we upset a well know program, Port Arthur Lincoln. Some consider it one of the biggest basketball upsets in UIL history.”
I caught up with one of his players from that team, David Shivers. Like so many of Stan’s former players, David considers Stan a friend and role model. “Coach is a man of integrity. If he said he would do something, he did it. You can sum up how Stan lives in just a few words, loving God and serving others.”
Boerne began to grow steadily and not quickly, and this was beneficial for the athletic program. Since high school sports programs can’t recruit, Stan said, “We were fortunate to have good move-ins. We were in a great location. The place that you live recruits for you. Boerne was very attractive for families. It’s the people that make Boerne what it is.”
So, what does the future hold? My guess is a lot of people don’t want him to stop. Just ask Marsha Hammond, former Champion High Girls Basketball Coach: “Coach is a great man, I was blessed to work under him. He always has the right thing to say to help you through every situation professionally and in life – he still does.”
Stan doesn’t plan to step down anytime soon. “I want to work forever because I love it. It is my ministry. I love teaching. I love speaking. As long as I feel good, I’ll always be in education. I love every bit of it. I love bad days just as much as I love good days. I love Boerne. It’s just the craziest deal how it all worked out. Every time there were opportunities, the Holy Spirit was clear. This was home.”
“We have been given a great opportunity of influence. Of course, we make mistakes daily, but we have been fortunate to have people who have given us lots of grace.”