'Bunny' honored to hop into Shepherd Hall of Fame

August 19, 2005|by LARRY YANOS

Former Washington County football coach Neville "Bunny" Leonard will be inducted into the Shepherd University Athletic Hall of Fame this fall.

The one-time South Hagerstown High School assistant and Williamsport High School head coach will be joined by Teresa Taylor, Ty Hart, Chauncey Winbush, James Rooths and Mark McHale on Oct. 7 in the Class of 2005.

"It's quite an honor and, making it even more meaningful, is the fact my brother 'Bootsie' is already in the Hall of Fame," said Leonard, of Charles Town, W.Va. "He was inducted two years ago and we're the only brother combination in the Hall of Fame."


Leonard, who starred at Shepherd from 1955 to 1958, was born and raised in Middleburg, Va., and was a member of the first graduation class at Loudoun County High School.

"I had a scholarship offer from Tennessee State my senior year but that was 400 miles away," Leonard said. "My parents never missed a game, and I knew Shepherd would afford them a much better opportunity to follow my career than a school that distant. I decided to attend Shepherd and I don't regret the decision."

Following his graduation from Shepherd, Leonard entered the work force.

"My first coaching job was at Annapolis High School, I spent six years there as head football coach," Leonard said. "I then started the football program at North East (Md.) High School and stayed there three years."

Leonard tried college coaching before coming to Washington County but things didn't work out.

"I was hired as an assistant football coach at Shippensburg (Pa.) College, but the head coach was fired during the off-season and the new man fired the whole staff," Leonard said. "I was offered the job as the junior varsity and varsity soccer coach. I had never coached soccer before but we did fine, a lot better than I expected. I got back into football the next year but the pay was terrible and I knew I had to move on."

Washington County was the next step.

"I interviewed with Doug Cochran (the former county supervisor of physical education) in 1969 and I was hired at South Hagerstown High School," Leonard said. "It was a great year. We started 0-2 and then finished at 8-2 with a win over North in the final game."

Leonard was then the varsity football coach at Williamsport from 1970 to 1975.

"I got out of coaching because of some health problems, but I remained a physical education teacher," Leonard said. "The only other coaching I did was in 1989. I helped Clayton Anders at Boonsboro with the freshman team. I eventually retired from teaching in Washington County in 1999."

While at Shepherd College, Leonard was a member of the football program from 1955-58 and was a freshman on the school's lone undefeated squad in 1955.

"My first coach was Don Fuoss and then it was Jess Riggleman," Leonard said. "Back then, you played both ways. I was a defensive back and an offensive back. I won some league honors on offense."

Offensively, Leonard led the team in rushing his sophomore and senior seasons.

As a senior, he carried 116 times for 706 yards, a 6.1 average, and gained all-conference honors.

Leonard has some fond memories of his athletic career at Shepherd but remembers one in particular.

"We won a game at Potomac State for the first time ever. I scored two touchdowns," Leonard said.

He now resides in Charles Town with his wife, Joyce, and daughter McKaela. He has two older sons, Neville Jr. and Brian.

Although retired, Leonard still works three days a week as a physical education teacher in Jefferson County, W.Va.

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