New Leechburg football coach Randy Walters hopes attention to detail sparks success
Wednesday, July 8, 2020 | 1:53 PM
You can see the sparkle in his eye, the pep in his step and the excitement in his voice. New Leechburg football coach Randy Walters is happy to be back on a football field.
Hired in March, Walters finally got an opportunity to work with his new players in a face-to-face setting last week, and he’s loving every minute. He’s put the Blue Devils through drills, seen them compete against each other, and he’s just starting to see what they are all about.
“They are just hard-working, tough kids,” Walters said at the practice field at Veteran’s Memorial Stadium in Leechburg. “I knew it would be a good place to be, and that’s what I’ve seen so far. They work their tail off. They don’t complain, and they compete.”
It’s been a long road to Leechburg’s first week of practice. After his hiring, Walters wasn’t able to meet the players because of safety precautions during the coronavirus pandemic. So, he tried to work with them through online platforms like Hudl.
He also got to work hiring a coaching staff and attending to the finer details of being a coach. But he was ready to step onto the field and get ready for the season.
“I was just itching to get with the kids,” Walters said. “I’m no spring chicken. I love this because I love coaching football, and I love being with the kids and watching the kids be successful. So, the first few months were really bad that way.”
He started to install basic concepts through the first few weeks and is teaching his Air Raid offense, which he picked up during his two seasons as an assistant coach under Shawn Liotta at Burrell. He hopes the new offense brings a little excitement to the program.
“The offense is a big part of it, and these kids are going to get excited about it because they are going to see that if you can get open and you can create space, you are going to touch the football,” Walters said. “We are going to get you the football, and we got a pretty good guy dishing out the football too. Dylan (Cook) is a good quarterback.”
Walters said the players have started to pick up the offense quickly, which gives him unlimited possibilities when it comes to preparation for his first season at the helm.
“The first day I showed it to them, and then the second day we were reviewing it and they were like bang-bang,” Walters said. “They were just picking it up really quick. I have a plan, but I’m an offensive guy and I’m going to keep pushing the limits on that as much as I can.”
Before spending the last two years at Burrell, Walters made coaching stops at schools throughout Western Pennsylvania. He coached at Gannon and Edinboro before switching his focus to high school at McGuffey, Valley, Bentworth, Hempfield and also Leechburg under Eddie Jenkins in 2006.
With Liotta the past two seasons, Walters was re-energized by the fast-paced, high-tempo culture. That got him to throw his hat back in the ring for a head coaching job.
“I watched him and how he does little things, just little things. He’s really good. He doesn’t miss anything,” Walters said. “Every ‘T’ is crossed and every ‘I’ is dotted, and he really got me going again. It wasn’t like I wasn’t excited to be a coach again, but he just really rejuvenated me.”
Attention to detail is one of the biggest things Walters hopes to bring to Leechburg, which owns the longest playoff active drought in the WPIAL. From the setup in the locker room to the way his players line up on the field, Walters believes everything comes into play, and he’s making sure that’s passed along to his players.
“Yeah, we haven’t been to the playoffs since ’88, but this place has a rich tradition. It really does,” Walters said. “They’ve been down a little bit, they’ve missed the playoffs, they were like 5-5 the last few years, but it comes down to the little details.
“It’s doing all the little things (in the locker room) so they see it and then demanding that they do all the little things out there (on the field) because when they do, they’ll see the results.”
Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .
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