It would be difficult to find a collegiate men's tennis coach with a more successful career than USC's Dick Leach, who led the Trojans to four national titles in 23 years at the helm of the USC program before announcing his retirement in May, 2002.
Following retirement, Leach adopted a new role at USC as emeritus director of men's tennis. In this position he is responsible for advising athletic director Mike Garrett and Peter Smith on the development of the Trojan tennis program, as well as helping raise funds for USC tennis.
Fittingly, Leach captured one last NCAA title in his final season. USC, which went 25-5 in 2001-02, entered the 2002 NCAAs as the No. 11 seed and upset the Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 6 seeds en route to the title. Leach retired with 535 career victories, four NCAA team titles, two NCAA singles champs, three NCAA doubles champs and seven Pac-10 titles.
Leach was honored as the 2002 Wilson/ITA National Coach of the Year and Pac-10 Coach of the Year.
He compiled a steller record of 535-133 (.801) and led his teams to many outstanding seasons while at USC, including a trip to the NCAA Championships in 22 of his 23 years.
Leach made an immediate impact at USC when he became head coach in 1980. He took over for former coach George Toley seven matches into that season and led USC to a tie for the Pac-10 championship and a third-place finish in the NCAA tournament. Troy won 22 of 27 matches under Leach and finished 27-7 overall that year. His top player, Robert Van't Hof, won the coveted NCAA singles title.
Just three years later, Leach's Trojans came within a game of getting into the 1983 NCAA finals, losing their last remaining doubles set, 7-6, to fall 5-4 to eventual champion Stanford in the semis. Troy placed third, finishing at 29-5 overall and 8-2 in the Pac-10 (second place).
The 1984 season was another big one for Leach as USC won the Pac-10 title with a 9-1 mark and finished 32-4 overall. Troy made it into the NCAAs again, but lost to Georgia in the quarterfinals. For all this, Dick was named National Coach of the Year by the ITCA.
Leach and the Trojans almost had another dream season in 1987 when Troy completed a grueling regular-season schedule with a flawless 30-0 mark and Pac-10 Coach of the Year honors. Although the team lost to eventual champion Georgia in the NCAA semifinals of the team tournament, four Trojans went on to win All-American honors, including the duo of Scott Melville and Rick Leach, who won the NCAA doubles crown (the second consecutive doubles title for USC).
Four years later, the Trojans captured their 13th national tennis team title by defeating Georgia in the 1991 NCAA tournament finals. Troy owned an impressive 30-2 overall mark and captured the Pac-10 title with a 9-1 record. Leach was named the 1991 Intercollegiate Tennis Coaches Association/Wilson Coach of the Year, as well as 1991 Pac-10 Coach of the Year.
Although falling short of the national title, Leach had a noteworthy season again in 1992, leading a Trojan team that was considered to be the third-best team in the conference to a second consecutive league crown (9-1), a 21-3 overall mark, and -- following an injury to one of Troy's key players -- a semifinal finish at the 1992 NCAAs. To cap off this tremendous season, Leach was once again awarded Pac-10 Coach of the Year honors.
The 1993 season was another near-perfect one for Troy. The Trojans captured their 14th national title and second crown in three years by defeating host Georgia in the finals. Troy posted a 22-2 overall mark and captured its third consecutive Pac-10 crown, going 9-1 during the league slate.
In 1994, Leach and his Trojans garnered a second consecutive national title (the 15th in the school history, tying UCLA for the most by any school), and finished with a 22-3 overall record. Troy captured its fourth straight Pacific-10 title that season, finishing 9-1 in league play. Leach was named the Pac-10 Coach of the Year for the third time in four years.
Leach played tennis at USC from 1959 to 1961 (under Toley) and achieved All-American third team honors in 1961. He received 26 U.S. national rankings in singles and doubles.
Leach coached tennis at Arcadia (Calif.) High from 1965 to 1969, collecting a 93-19 record, and was the U.S. Junior Davis Cup coach from 1966 to 1968. He was the pro at the San Marino Tennis Club from 1969 to 1976 and, since 1971, has been the general partner and owner of four tennis clubs -- Big Bear Tennis Ranch, Westlake Tennis and Swim Club, Ojai Valley Racquet Club and the Racquet Club of Irvine.
In the summer of 1984, Leach coached the U.S. Team in the Galea Cup, the equivalent of the Davis Cup for players 20-and-under. He has also continued to play tennis competitively and has won 14 national father-son titles with sons Rick and Jon.
The 61-year-old Leach is married (his wife's name is Sandy) and he has four children, including sons Rick, a four-year USC All-American (1984-87) and two-time NCAA doubles champion (1986-87) who currently plays professional tennis, and Jon, a two-time USC All-American (1991-94) and member of three national championship teams. His daughter, Mindy, was a varsity tennis player at Minnesota from 1988-90 and Alabama from 1990-92. Leach and Sandy currently reside in Laguna Beach, Calif.
LEACH'S CAREER COACHING RECORD