Los Angeles Preps: Stephen Bryce

I.E.: Leach back in the saddle at Etiwanda

January, 17, 2012
Getting caught up on some news and notes from around the Inland Empire…

The next stop for football coach Tom Leach will be at Etiwanda High School. Leach takes over for Stephen Bryce, who resigned in December after seven seasons at the school, in part to get the crib ready for his first child.

Leach has been highly successful and somewhat controversial during stops at Diamond Ranch High in Pomona and Chaparral in Temecula.

In 2004, he took over a Diamond Ranch program that finished 3-7 the season before. He promptly led the Panthers to a 9-3-1 mark in his first year and a trip to the Division 8 semifinals. After losing their first eight games the following season and finishing 2-8, Leach moved on to Chaparral.

Again, he took over a team with a losing record the previous season and guided the Pumas to an 11-3 mark and a trip to the Inland Division championship game. Chaparral lost that game and was beaten in the final again two years later, but broke through to win the program’ first title in 2009. During that season, Leach was suspended for a game after directing his players to point to the scoreboard after a victory against Southwestern League rival Murrieta Valley.

The Pumas were expected to be one of the top teams in the state heading into the 2010 season and ramped up their nonleague schedule to include several other Southland powers, but Chaparral lost its first four games and finished 4-7.

Shortly after the season ended, he was fired by the school principal, despite a 47-19 overall record at the school. Several on-campus protests were held by players and parents who wanted Leach to continue running the program.

Leach responded to his firing with this lengthy letter to the editor in the Daily Californian, which serves Southwest Riverside County.

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