Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 9/10/21 – Staff Report
William L. “Bill” Leahy III, who coached La Salle to five state lacrosse championships before retiring in 2019 as the winningest boys’ coach of all-time in Pennsylvania and the Tri-State region, will be inducted into the La Salle College High Hall of Athletics tonight.
Leahy coached La Salle for 28 years, capping his career in 2019 with the PIAA Class AAA championship, and the honor of Phillylacrosse.com Co-Coach of the Year. He also was EPLCA Coach of the Year in 2017.
Leahy’s overall record was a glittering 512-115. His teams won three PIAA championships (2009, 2013, 2019) and two Keystone Cup championships (2004, 2008). La Salle reached a state final in 9 of the past 17 years and won 23 Catholic League championship under Leahy, who started the program from scratch in 1992.
According to statistics compiled by LaxRecords, Leahy was the 19th boys’ coach in the country to reach 500 wins when he achieved the milestone in 2019 with a victory over rival St. Joseph’s Prep.
Leahy’s final game as La Salle coach resulted in a 7-5 win over Conestoga for the PIAA Class AAA championship at West Chester East. The Explorers won 14 of their last 15 games that year – including a memorable rally from a 6-goal fourth-period deficit in an 11-10 win (double overtime) over Garnet Valley in the semifinals.
Brother James Butler, FSC, the President of La Salle College High School, shared this when Leahy retired: “The opportunities to refer to a colleague as a ‘founder’ are rare in a school like La Salle with our more than 160 years of history. But that is what Bill Leahy has been.
“As a very young adult, he was called from Baltimore based on an idea Brother Rene Sterner had. Then Bill made that idea a program, made that program first sustainable, then respectable. As the years went on and programmatic and individual successes mounted up, that respectability became institutionalized. So now we are at the point, 28 years later, where La Salle lacrosse is a redoubtable institution, one with national prominence and a legion of alumni who experienced success at the collegiate level and beyond.
“After nearly three decades of nurturing that program, Bill Leahy leaves his successor a legacy of ambition, energy, vision, and most importantly faith—faith in the potential of the young men entrusted to his care and faith in the God whose providence made this whole process of growing a dream into an institution possible.”
During his tenure as head coach of the Explorers, Leahy coached 290 All-Catholics including 13 League MVP’s, 94 All-State selections, 61 All-Americans, 24 Academic All-Americans, 5 Under Armour All-Americans, and 10 Major League Lacrosse (MLL/PLL) professionals. Graduates of his program have played in the finest Division I and Division III programs in the nation and the 2019 Division I National Tournament included several La Salle alums.
In 2017, Leahy was inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame (Montgomery County Chapter). He has likewise been inducted into the US Lacrosse Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter Lacrosse Hall of Fame (2012) and Montgomery County Coaches Hall of Fame (2010).