Published December 4, 2014
Lance Leipold, who holds an astounding 106-6 record as head football coach at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, was introduced Monday as UB’s 25th head coach.
Leipold, who has won five Division III National Championships over his eight seasons at Wisconsin-Whitewater, has positioned the Warhawks — who are 12-0 and the top-ranked team in the nation — for their sixth national crown this year.
A six-time National Coach of the Year, Leipold reached 100 career victories faster than any other coach in NCAA history — at any level.
“We’re excited to have Coach Leipold here in UB Blue,” Director of Athletics Danny White said in introducing Leipold at a press conference in Alumni Arena. “In our conversations, it became obvious to me that this is a man of character. This is someone that is going to continue the tradition that we already have of recruiting high-character kids, student-first student-athletes. In short, he does it the right way.”
Leipold has garnered multiple honors from as many as five football-related organizations. He earned his fifth American Football Coaches Association Division III Coach of the Year award in 2013, joining Penn State’s Joe Paterno as the only coaches at any level of college football to earn five AFCA Coach of the Year honors.
In his first season as head coach at Whitewater, the Warhawks went 14-1 and won the national title. He led the Warhawks back to the national championship game in 2008, but they lost to Mount Union, 31-26. Wisconsin-Whitewater went 15-0, winning the national championship in 2009, 2010 and 2011, and 46 straight games over that span. Following a 7-3 season in 2012, UWW went a perfect 15-0 and won the national championship in 2013; it currently is 12-0 and the top-ranked team in the nation this season.
The Warhawks defeated Wabash College, 38-14, in the second round of the Division III playoffs on Nov. 29. They will face Wartburg in the quarterfinals on Dec. 6. Leipold will coach the Warhawks for the remainder of their season.
“I’d like to thank Dr. Tripathi and Danny White for this outstanding opportunity to be the 25th head football coach at New York’s university," said Leipold. “This is an unbelievable opportunity. It’s ready to take off. It’s going to take work, it’s going to take commitment and that’s what makes athletics, especially football, so competing. It’s the ultimate team game and I'm glad to be a part of this team.”
Leipold said he had met the team earlier Monday. “What an impressive group of young men,” he said. “To see the looks on their faces, I know they’re hungry and ready to get to work, and I’m equally as excited.”
In Division III, where athletic scholarships aren’t part of the game, Leipold was able to recruit top-notch talent to the campus in southeastern Wisconsin. During his tenure, running back Justin Beaver earned the Gagliardi Trophy as the top player in Division III. Brent Allen earned the Division III Rimington Award as the top center. Jeff Schebler was the first recipient of the Fred Mitchell Award, given to the top placekicker in Division II or III. Tailback Levell Coppage earned D3football.com Offensive Player of the Year accolades and Cole Klotz was selected D3football.com Defensive Player of the Year. Defensive back Jared Kiesow was named an NCAA Elite 88 Award winner. The Warhawks have piled up 56 All-America honors under Leipold's tutelage.
A native of Jefferson, Wisconsin, Leipold began his coaching career at Wisconsin-Whitewater in 1987 as a quarterbacks coach and then wide receivers coach. He moved to the University of Wisconsin from 1991-93 as a graduate assistant and helped the Badgers to a Big Ten title and a Rose Bowl appearance in 1993.
As an assistant coach at Division II Nebraska-Omaha from 1994-2000, Leipold helped turn the Mavericks from a 1-10 team in 1994 into three-time North Central Conference champions during his tenure. After being promoted to offensive coordinator in 2000, he moved on to the University of Nebraska, where he served for three seasons under current Ohio head coach Frank Solich. He was on the same staff as former UB head coach Turner Gill. The Cornhuskers competed in the national championship game in 2001 and earned bowl bids in 2002 and 2003.
He returned to Nebraska-Omaha to serve as associate head coach and offensive coordinator from 2004-06. The Mavericks finished 8-3 and won the conference championship each of his three seasons.
Leipold is a 1987 graduate of Wisconsin-Whitewater, where he was a standout quarterback for the Warhawks. He ranks second in school history in career pass attempts (647), fourth in yards (4,277), sixth in completions (303) and tied for 10th with 27 touchdowns. He was inducted into the Whitewater Hall of Fame in 2003.