Skip to main content

"Bill" Leckonby Passes Away

This Monday, the Lehigh football family lost one of its legendary coaches and athletic directors in "Bill" Leckonby at the age of 90. You may read the press accounts about his death, but it really doesn't take into account his transformative effect on the Lehigh football program and even the initial visions of the Patriot League.

A star tailback at St. Lawrence and on the Brooklyn Dodgers of the AAFL (but as a "triple threat" he could also be considered a quarterback), he would leave pro sports to fight in the Navy during World War II. When he returned in 1946, he would be the youngest head football coach Lehigh has ever had at 28 years old and in four years would lead Lehigh to their first-ever perfect undefeated and untied season (9-0-0) in 1950. The first-ever Lambert Cup would be won by Leckonby's 1957 squad, and in his final year of coaching he would win another in 1961. Overall, he would have 85 coaching wins and six "Middle Three" championships.

As a coach, he was an outspoken advocate for Lehigh. In 1957, he played the press like a violin in advocating Lehigh for being "ranked in the top 20 teams in the nation" and "No Ivy League team, save Dartmouth or Princeton, would give us much trouble." He also campaigned for a new rating between "major" and "small" colleges where Lehigh seemed to fit - a cut above the Oberlin's of the world, but a step below the Michigan's. When the NCAA moved to Division I-A and Division I-AA in 1978, it could have been seen as "Leck"''s ultimate vision coming to fruition.

"Leck" liked to have smart students. "A boy has to be a student and athlete to be on our team." "With boys of higher intelligence, teaching is a snap."

In his first year as athletic director, he made motions to leave the "Middle Atlantic" conference, which at the time included Delaware, Muhlenberg, Bucknell, Gettysburg, and Temple and Lafayette in football. In 1962, he told the football writers in New York that the ideal league for Lehigh would be an "organization similar to the Ivy League," according the the New York Times. He wanted a school with "better balance" academically and athletically. He could have been describing the Patriot League of today.

"Leck" was the athletic director though interesting times at Lehigh: the admission of women and the creation of the first women's sports teams; the plans to demolish Taylor Stadium and start the plans for Goodman stadium; and he also hired Pete Carril, who would later become famous for his slowdown, passing style of basketball at Princeton.

Bill Leckonby was a real visionary, a real man, and a great Engineer. He will be missed.

Comments

LehighWrestling said…
Very good article, its a shame to see wonderful people die.
Which games will you be attending?

Lehigh vs George town (10/17/07)?

Lehigh at Colgate (11/3/07)?

Lehigh at Bucknell 11/10/07)?

Lehigh lafayette Luncheon?

Lehigh vs Lafayette 11/17/07?
If you are attending any oft hese take a bunch of pictures at each of the games/events that you'll be attending and put them up on the webshots. Thank you
Anonymous said…
Lehigh vs Georgetown is (10/27/07)

Popular posts from this blog

How To Get Lehigh Fans To Games, And Keep Them There?

You don't have to have attended more than twenty-five years of Lehigh football games to know it's a completely different world out there for your friendly neighborhood sports fan.

When Lehigh's Murray Goodman Stadium was opened in 1988, there were only about a dozen channels on the small, eighteen inch black and white TV we had in our dorm room.  Only two channels might have had "major college football" games on at the same time a Lehigh football game was being played live over the mountain.  (Notre Dame, the only school who had all their games televised, almost always played their games at 3:30 PM.)

Nowadays there's way more entertainment options on a typical college weekend than ever, and it's very logical to think that the increased amount of competition might not just keep students away from attending football games, but local fans as well.

It's not an issue confined to Lehigh - in 2014, home attendance at all FBS games dropped to their lowest le…

Fifteen Guys Who Might be Lehigh's Next Football Coach (and Five More)

If you've been following my Twitter account, you might have caught some "possibilities" as Lehigh's next head football coach like Lou Holtz, Brett Favre and Bo Pelini.  The chance that any of those three guys actually are offered and accept the Lehigh head coaching position are somewhere between zero and zero.  (The full list of my Twitter "possibilities" are all on this thread on the Lehigh Sports Forum.)

However the actual Lehigh head football coaching search is well underway, with real names and real possibilities.

I've come up with a list of fifteen possible names, some which I've heard whispered as candidates, others which might be good fits at Lehigh for a variety of reasons.

UPDATE: I have found five more names of possible head coaches that I am adding to this list below.

Who are the twenty people?  Here they are, in alphabetical order.

Trump's Disinvitation of the Eagles Commits the Cardinal Sin against Philadelphia - Slighting Them

Monday evening, less than 24 hours before they were scheduled to visit the White House, Trump "disinvited" the Super Bowl Champion Eagles from coming.

The "reasoning" for disinviting the Eagles - if you can call it that - was included in a statement released by the White House.

"They disagree with their President because he insists that they proudly (sic) stand for the National Anthem, hand on heart (sic), in honor of the great men and women of out military and the people of our country," it reads, conveniently ignoring the fact that no Philadelphia Eagles kneeled during the National Anthem during the course of the entire season.

I don't think Trump fully comprehends what he has done.

Certainly Trump probably thinks he is speaking to his "base" - the people Trump thinks voted for him in 2016, and people who think will continue to vote for him and his preferred candidates in the future.

But Trump's bottomless bad faith in "disinviti…