Johnsburg Central School physical education teacher Tim Leach
At the heart of Johnsburg Central School’s athletic program is a man named Timothy Leach.
He has been teaching Physical Education for 36 years, and has spent 27 of those years teaching in Johnsburg, and has made the decision to retire this year. He has coached many sports such as skiing, soccer, baseball, and a few years of girls’ and boys’ basketball. Leach has been the baseball coach for both Indian Lake and Johnsburg schools during the time he taught at them, and wasn’t the coach for one year sometime in the late 1980s, when he took some time off. In addition, Leach has been the Nordic skiing coach for 20 out of the 23 years the JCS program has been around. He took over the ski team from one of Johnsburg’s old science teachers, Steve Danna, when he retired and has been the coach ever since. Leach coached soccer for 26 years and his last year was 2004. Taking over the soccer team from Coach Sam Allison, Leach was a coach with a strong, but different coaching style.
When Leach first started teaching at Indian Lake, he replaced an older man by the name of George Burgess, and Leach believes, “The Indian Lake kids were looking for a new spark…”
After applying at Johnsburg multiple times, Leach was finally given the job 27 years ago, and has been here ever since. When asked what brought him to Johnsburg, Leach replied, “I saw it as a better challenge…” Johnsburg was a bigger school and Leach saw more opportunities.
For many students, fellow staff members, and players, it is sad to see Leach leave. He has been a big part of the athletic program and has left his mark on Johnsburg. He has had many achievements such as multiple medal-winning ski teams, including three teams that won medals in a relay-race in 2005 and in 2006 a silver medal win in states competition. In soccer, he had many great seasons. In baseball, he has had a few seasons that he lost only one game.
Leach has had many more great moments since being at Johnsburg. On his 50th birthday, the Johnsburg baseball team faced Westport in a Sectionals final game. Behind for most the game, the Jags were able to tie the game in the 7th inning and then won the game in the 8th. Overall, his teams have won about 15 sectional championships.
Regarding his retirement, Leach claims, “It’s with mixed emotions… It’s been my life for 36 years.”
But, Leach feels it time to retire. “The kids in Johnsburg are looking for someone younger.”
Leach has made many friendships with many fellow coaches and staff members, such as Gene Maiorana and Sam Allison. Someone Leach has made a friend out of is Coach Jill Toney, who is the other half of the Johnsburg athletic program. Leach claims that he and Toney are about as close as a brother and sister.
Leach is most proud about his longevity and especially the level of the success of the Nordic Team. The team races against many big schools and keeps up with the best.
“We had a great run,” Leach said. “We were about as good as anybody,” claimed Leach. The Johnsburg Nordic team has nurtured many future Division 1 college skiers, such as Andrew Morehouse and Paul Allison.
During the summer, Leach works at a campground called Lake Durant Campground in Blue Mountain Lake. Also, his family owns and operates a children’s camp in Old Forge called Adirondack Woodcraft Camp. He helps pick up kids in New York City to bring them to the camp. During his retirement, he hopes to be more involved with the camp.
One thing Leach is going to miss is the major social interaction in this small school. Dave Hyde, the Johnsburg groundskeeper and a bus driver, once told Leach that he is a very social person. Leach has many stories from his past and can go on about his Saint Louis Cardinals. Leach is one of the nicest staff members in JCS. Leach always tries to get a laugh out of anybody and can take a good joke. His love for and knowledge of baseball have made for many great and memorable seasons. He will be missed as he enjoys his retirement, but he will be back for concerts held at Johnsburg that are directed by his wife, Mary Leach, who is the chorus director.