Coach Mike Leonard '87 Leads Franklin to NCAA Football Playoffs

Coach Mike Leonard '87 Leads Franklin to NCAA Football Playoffs

November 16, 2007

Mike Leonard - Franklin.jpgNovember 16, 2007, Greencastle, Ind. - "Twenty-one years ago, Mike Leonard was a young guy who wanted a shot at the big time," begins an Indianapolis Starstory on the man who received a master's degree from DePauw University in 1987. For the past five years, he has been head football coach at Indiana's Franklin College, and "has turned a long-struggling program into a Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference power," writes Michael Pointer. The Grizzlies won their first outright conference championship this fall and are headed to the NCAA Division III playoffs.

Pointer notes, "after finishing a two-year stint as a graduate assistant at DePauw, the 24-year-old Leonard sent letters to about 115 colleges and universities throughout the country looking for another coaching position." After taking a position at the University of Alabama, Leonard served as an assistant at Hanover College, College of the Holy Cross (Mass.), Butler University and Wittenberg University (Ohio). NCAA Football Wilson.jpgHe became Franklin's 17th head football coach in January of 2003.

Comparing his early experience at Alabama with Division III coaching, Leonard tells the Star, "I'm just a lot more comfortable dealing with these kind of guys that are not the superstar athletes. These guys are all going to go pro, I hope, but it's going to be in a profession like you and I are in. Not that it's better than Division I, but it's just my niche. And I love it."

Franklin hosts North Central (Illinois) College on Saturday in the first round of the playoffs.

Read the full story, "Franklin College football team lives the dream," at the Star's Web site.