It is with great sadness that the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) shares the news of the passing of longtime University of Southern California (USC) men’s tennis coach Dick Leach.
Leach, who was handed the reins of the Trojan program in 1980 from another storied coach, George Toley, instantly left his mark on the world of college tennis, guiding his teams to NCAA Team National Championships in 1991, 1993, 1994, and 2002.
As an avid tennis player since a young age, Leach ranked as high as No. 3 in the USTA U-15 National Rankings and would later go on to play for Coach Toley at USC where he would be named a team captain and an All-American in the 1961 season.
Evolving from a player to coach, Leach would spend time as the USTA Junior Davis Cup coach from 1966-68 before spending time as the head pro at the San Marino Tennis Club while also serving as a general partner for the Big Bear Tennis Ranch, Westlake Tennis and Swim Club, Ojai Valley Racquet Club and the Racquet Club of Irvine.
Being a Trojan since birth, Leach’s biggest dream in coaching was to bring a national championship to USC, a school in which his father, his sons, and he himself attended. His dream came to fruition in 1991 when he led the Trojans to a 5-2 victory over Georgia, his first of four titles during his time at USC.
Over his career, Leach achieved a 529-133 (.799) overall record and took the Trojans to the postseason in all but one year of his coaching career. Leach was named the ITA National Coach of the Year in 1987 and 1991, white also earning the distinction of being named the PAC-10 Coach of the Year four times.
Leach produced more than 35 All-Americans during his 23-year tenure at the helm of the Trojans. In 2003, Leach was inducted into the ITA Men’s Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame.
Leach’s impact on the sport of college tennis will last for decades to come and his presence around the sport will be greatly missed.