Warriors introduce coach
11/12/02 Warriors Press Release
Every band of warriors needs a leader, someone with experience, talent and vision who understands what it takes to win. For the Utah Warriors, that leader is head coach Lee Leslie.
Leslie is no football amateur. With nearly 19 years of coaching experience, he is regarded as one of Utah’s top football minds. However, Leslie’s football education began long before his first coaching position when he played quarterback for the University of California and Southern Utah University. In college, Leslie learned valuable lessons about discipline, teamwork and dedication. He also began filling his mind with offensive schemes that would someday blossom into a complex playbook designed to dissect defenses and put points on the scoreboard.
Following a serious shoulder injury, Leslie made the move to coaching. In 1984, he began as an assistant coach at Parowan High School. A year later, Leslie accepted the head coaching job at Tooele High School where he led the Buffs to their first semifinal finish since 1937. After eight years at Tooele, Leslie was hired as head coach at Hillcrest High School where he served seven more years. During his high school tenure, Leslie produced 16 playoff teams, five region champions and players that would someday be on National Football League rosters. His teams were so successful he was asked to join the coaching staff of the University of Utah. There, Leslie honed his defensive skills while working with one of the Intermountain West’s top defensive units.
Coaching provided Leslie with more than a full-time commitment. However, midway through his career, a professional team called requesting his service. Soon, on top of his regular coaching duties, Leslie became the quarterback for Utah’s first indoor football team, the Utah Catzz. In his first game, Leslie threw for seven touchdowns and fulfilled a life-long dream of playing professional football.
Unfortunately, the Catzz days were short and it was not long before coaching was once again his only focus. Reenergized by his on-the-field experience, Leslie continued to thrive in the high-school ranks and did not concentrate on indoor football until the summer of 2001, when a coaching/ownership opportunity arose with an expansion team in the National Indoor Football League. Jumping at the chance to coach professionally, Leslie becomes the first coach of Utah’s only professional football team, the Utah Warriors.