photo by Lori Birch
Coach Leo Pesch with the commemorative ring given to him by the Colorado Coaches Association in honor of his initial 335 wins. Coach Pesch is still counting wins and is now up to 358.
Leo Pesch knows the lessons learned in basketball are some of the most important, and he has been sharing these lessons for over 30 years as a West Grand boys’ basketball coach. He stresses teamwork over individual accomplishments so it is no surprise that when he was recognized by the Colorado Coaches Association for over 335 wins in his high school coaching career that he would share the recognition.
“The recognition goes to Kremmling more so than me,”Pesch says, “they are the ones who did it.” Pesch recognized the players, parents and fans. He also gave a shout-out to his assistant coaches throughout the years who also made it possible – Larry Banman, Mike O’Hotto, Dave Hargadine, Ryan Eastin, Toby Hargadine, Mike Ritschard and most recently Tommy Byrnes and Fernando Dominguez.
Pesch received a commemorative ring in honor of his wins and had the ring inscribed with the saying “Never, never, never quit” and dedicated it to his son, who is also named Leo. “Leo has been through a lot of basketball seasons with me.” Pesch had the pleasure of coaching his son in basketball in high school, and noted that it wasn’t always easy for either of them.
Even though Pesch has been to state six times, he is quick to add that his winning seasons weren’t necessarily his best seasons. “There is no direct correlation with how good a year with the amount of wins we had. Every year was a good year when the boys worked hard and were constantly improving.”
Pesch grew-up in Wisconsin with 10 siblings and learned the art of sportsmanship early in life. He later attended Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wisconsin where he played basketball for four years.
“In playing sports, you learn discipline and teamwork. These are the same skills that you need every day to be successful,” Pesch states and adds, “I hope I have helped develop successful young gentleman who are successful in whatever they do because of the lessons they learned on the court.”
Throughout three decades of coaching, Pesch says his goals always remained constant, “to get everything you can out of each player.”
This philosophy served Pesch well as he coached middle school sports and taught in the classroom. Pesch taught 4th grade and later taught math and science in the middle school. He now serves as the Dean of Students at the high school.