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Sacred Heart-Griffin’s Ken Leonard Becomes Winningest Football Coach in IHSA History on Emotional Night

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An emotional night turned historic at Sacred Heart-Griffin High School in Springfield on Friday, September 21, 2018, when the Cyclones defeated visiting Rochester High School 45-6 on the gridiron.

Dubbed the “Leonard Bowl”, the game pits legendary Sacred Heart-Griffin coach Ken Leonard against his son Derek, the seven-time state champion head coach at Rochester. The Chicago Bears were in town hosting an NFL Crucial Catch event to raise cancer awareness in memory of Liz Leonard, the wife of Ken and mother of Derek, who passed from breast cancer in December.

Sacred Heart-Griffin’s dominant performance on the field also marked Ken’s 375th career coaching victory, making him the winningest football coach in IHSA history.

Leonard surpassed Mount Carmel’s (Chicago) Frank Lenti for the top spot on the state win list. Lenti and Leonard both began at their respective schools in 1984 (Lenti’s career at Mt. Carmel ended after the 2017 season). Before coming to Sacred Heart-Griffin, Leonard got his head coaching start at Gridley High School, where he won 32 games in four seasons. Leonard has led the Cyclones to five IHSA state championships in eight state title game appearances.

Read, listen and watch more about the record-setting night from…

State Journal Register

SJR Column


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