Coach Leicht Earns 300th Career Victory At Wayne Valley

The Wayne Valley Boys Basketball hasn’t had a losing season since Joe Leicht took over the program in 2004. His team’s victory over Lakeland on January 6th, 2022 (final score: 70-35) marked Leicht’s three-hundredth win as a head coach. 

“We have had so many peaks and valleys this season, mainly due to COVID situations, that I actually forgot that I needed five wins this season to get to three hundred,” Leicht recalls. “I was really surprised when Coach Drozjock shook my hand, gave me the game ball, and the Lakeland Athletic Director made the announcement after the game.”

Sports have always been a big part of Leicht’s life; at a young age, he always knew that he wanted to coach, specifically at the high school level. Prior to coaching at Wayne Valley, Leicht worked as a math teacher for forty-three years and coached four different sports at Indian Hills Regional High School. Even before his professional career, he was a three-sport high school athlete and went on to play baseball at Montclair State University. 

Leicht remarks that the “best part of coaching is working so hard to get the athletes to understand the plan [and] the journey, and then seeing that smile on their faces when they get it.”

Even when the Valley team found itself with sizable—and seemingly insurmountable—leads, Coach Leict maintained his same intensity, never allowing his team to slack off or let their guard down. His coaching tactics are highly effective, and senior Drake Flower claims, “The constant repetition of going over all of our own plays and the opposing team’s plays gives us an edge in every game.” 

David Drozjock, Wayne Valley’s Athletic Director, applauds Leicht’s leadership and the boys’ game play. “[They] play great defense,” he observes. “They share the ball on offense, and their effort on the court is second to none. When you play Wayne Valley Boys Basketball, you know you’re going to be in a battle.”

Over the years, Coach Leicht has created a host of amazing memories. He won big in 2008 by taking home the North 1 Group 3 State Sectional title on what was a “last second steal and layup to break a tie versus West Milford.” Leicht also led his team to the Passaic County Championship game in both 2007 and 2016, which was no easy task. He is also impacted whenever “the past graduates return to say ‘hello,’ knowing that they have moved on to have successful careers in life.”

Added to his impressive list of accomplishments and memories will be this three-hundredth victory. 

“The wins add up, but Coach Leicht doesn’t coach for the wins,” says Drozjock. “He coaches for the love of the game and for his players, who he really cares about. His players understand that and play ‘all out’ for Coach.” 

Leicht, over his eighteen seasons at Wayne Valley, has been extremely appreciative of his assistant coaches. He firmly believes that the head coach can never succeed alone. 

“Being a coach is like a salmon—always swimming against the current,” said Leicht. “Leaping to try and reach that upper tier; many times not making it—but always fighting back to try again and again. As with every Wayne Valley basketball season, we are striving to be the best we can be; go as far as we can go. Maybe reaching as far as [any other team] has ever reached. We will give it all we got!”

What more could you ask for?