Joliet Catholic Academy Athletic Director Dan Sharp and Girls Athletic Coordinator Tina Kinsella are proud to announce the hiring of Nick Leonard as the new Head Girls Varsity Basketball Coach effective immediately.
Leonard is a familiar face in the hallways and courtside at JCA, currently serving in the school’s Counseling Department for the past year. In addition, Leonard served as the head freshmen “B” basketball coach in Joe Gura’s Hilltoppers program during 2015, helping to guide the freshmen “A” and “B” squads to a combined 20-14 record.
Sharp stated, “Nick is an outstanding coach and educator that can build this program from the ground up, while also maintaining the current success we achieved at the varsity level. His work ethic and presence in the building are going to be huge assets to our girls”.
Prior to being hired at Joliet Catholic, Leonard found success at Pleasant Plains High School, located in Pleasant Plains, IL, coaching both girls basketball and baseball. In 2012-2013, Leonard helped guide the Cardinals to a 20-win season and a regional championship while serving as a girls basketball varsity assistant coach. As head coach of the junior varsity squad, he posted a 15-4 record.
During the fall of 2012, Leonard was helping to lay the groundwork for Pleasant Plains’ varsity success by leading Pleasant Plains Middle School’s 8th grade girls to a 16-6 record. Leonard’s double-duty act also extended into baseball season, both at the middle school and varsity levels.
On the diamond, Leonard assisted the varsity, led by IHSBCA Hall of Famer Dave Greer, on their way to a 2nd place finish in the 2013 IHSA Class 2A State Finals. The Cardinals are perennially a favorite to win state at the small school level. His 8th grade Pleasant Plains Middle School squad won an IESA Regional Championship in 2013 as well.
Kinsella added, “With Nick’s educational background and successful athletic experiences we are very fortunate to be able to have him step in. This along with his character will assist him to make the personal connections with our current players and future Angels basketball players in our community to help build the program.”
Leonard graduated from Blackburn College in 2008, where he was named to the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference All-Conference team in baseball as an infielder. He began his college playing career at NCAA Division-II powerhouse the University of Tampa. After transferring to be closer to home, Leonard played both basketball and baseball at Moraine Valley Community College, before moving onto a successful two-year career at Blackburn. He prepped at Stagg High School in Palos, IL, where he was a three-year varsity member of the basketball and baseball programs, earning S.I.C.A. All-Conference honors in baseball all three years.
Leonard replaces Kenny Battle, who resigned on Tuesday for personal reasons. Battle lead the Angels to a 20-9 record and a Class 3A regional title in 2015.
Leonard will retain current JCA Director of Communications Ryan Quigley, who will help guide the lower levels of the program, on his staff for the 2015-2016 season and is currently filling out the rest of the program’s staff.
Sharp concluded, “Nick has an outstanding work ethic. He and “Quigs” will keep this program strong from top to bottom, and will have our girls well organized and prepared for this upcoming season. We are so excited to have them both on board.”