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MISD Announces Nate Leonard as the New Head Football Coach of McKinney High School

Shane Mauldin|
Monday, January 22, 2024

Nate Leonard — Head Football Coach, McKinney High School

McKinney, Texas – At the January Board of Trustees meeting Monday night, McKinney ISD announced that it has hired Nate Leonard as the new head football coach of McKinney High School.

Leonard’s arrival will serve as a homecoming for the MHS alumnus and former Lions offensive line standout who has spent the past eight years honing his coaching craft at the high school and collegiate levels. Most recently, he has served as the head football coach and athletic coordinator/athletics administrator at Canyon High School in New Braunfels in Comal ISD.

“We are thrilled that Coach Leonard has agreed to lead the McKinney High Lions,” said MISD Director of Athletics Jennifer Frazier. “As an alumnus, Coach Leonard understands the rich history of McKinney High School and is passionate about leading our student athletes. He is a fierce competitor and consistently showcases the ability to build a culture that breeds excellence and strong relationships. We are excited to welcome him home.”

During his collegiate career playing center at the University of Texas at San Antonio, Leonard garnered impressive accolades that included being named to the Capital One Academic All-American Team (2013), Conference USA Scholar-Athlete of the Year (2013), William V. Campbell Trophy Finalist (known as the “Academic Heisman”) (2014) and the Dave Rimington Trophy Watchlist (2014) which spotlights the country’s best college centers. He also served on the UTSA President Student Advisory Committee (2013, 2014), was named the College of Human Development Student of the Year (2014) and earned the Golden Feather Award (UTSA’s Outstanding Student) (2013).

He launched his coaching career in 2015 at Memorial High School in San Antonio as an offensive line coach, assistant baseball coach and head powerlifting coach before going on to post stints at Seguin High School, Reagan High School in San Antonio, Duke University and Clear Lake High School. He arrived at Canyon in 2021 to serve as assistant head coach/offensive coordinator and by 2023 was chosen to lead the team as head coach.

The football team reached new heights during Leonard’s tenure at Canyon, posting their first back to back winning seasons and back to back playoff appearances since 2010, scoring the most offensive points across three seasons in the history of Canyon football and posting the highest district finishes in the school’s history. The defense showed its best production since 2011, and the team earned its most wins in back to back seasons since 2005.

In addition, the school placed 45 football athletes on the academic all-district team and 17 on the THSCA Academic All-State team in 2023. Beyond his work with the football team, Leonard also started boys and girls competitive powerlifting teams at Canyon.

Leonard was a community builder at Canyon and played a vital role in fundraising more than $100,000 for football; worked to repair, strengthen and refocus a fractured athletics booster club; partnered with the Canyon McKinney-Vento program to raise funds and donations of clothing for families in need; and led a separate drive that donated over $25,000 in toys and clothes to families in need during the holidays.

Now Leonard comes full circle, returning to the school where it all started.

“I couldn’t be more excited to come home and serve the wonderful community that raised me,” said Leonard. “I know what an honor it is to wear the blue and gold because I’ve done it myself (MHS Class of 2010). Our mission will be to do things better than they’ve ever been done before at McKinney High School. McKinney High School will be the most exciting place to be a high school athlete, and we will equip our student-athletes with the tools to succeed now and for the rest of their lives.”

Leonard earned his bachelor’s degree in kinesiology with a minor in business administration from the University of Texas at San Antonio and his master’s degree in educational administration from Lamar University.

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Nate Leonard — Head Football Coach, McKinney High School

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