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Levelland ISD hires former Red Raider, Lyle Leong, Jr. as new athletic director

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The Levelland ISD Board of Trustees approved the hiring of Lyle Leong, Jr., as the new athletic director for Levelland ISD at a special meeting, Wednesday.

Jeff Northern, LISD superintendent, began the meeting by explaining the district formed a committee, made up of Dr. Matthew Birdwell, LHS principal; Northern, and Rodney Caddell, assistant superintendent, and they interviewed six candidates for the position.

He said the decision to hire Leong was unanimous.

“Lyle brings extensive knowledge to the game, a lot of energy and most important, which resonated with me, is his love for people, his love for kids,” Northern said. “He’s going to be that shot in the arm our program needs right now. Thank you for joining our team.”

Leong thanked the board for the opportunity to serve as the new athletic director for Levelland ISD and said he and his family are excited to be a part of the district and the community.

“Thank you for the opportunity to be a part of a great program and a great community,” Leong said.

Leong joins the Levelland ISD atheltic program after serving most recently as the offensive coordinator at Highlands High School in San Antonio.

Leong has an extensive background in football. Leong was a standout wide-receiver for Texas Tech under former coach Mike Leach.

From there, he went on to have a short stint in the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2011. He also played ball in the Canadian Football League under the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Since then, Leong has pursued a career in coaching. He spent time at Cisco College, West Virginia and Savannah State, landing his first high school coaching position at Cleburne in 2017.

Leong was the offensive coordinator at Highlands High School for the past four years.

Leong said he felt honored to be chosen as the next athletic director to lead the Levelland Lobos.

“It was a great honor for them to have picked me,” Leong said. “It’s an honor to be a part of a great community and a great traditional program that has been successful.”

Leong said he and his family felt that Levelland ISD was the right place for them because it felt like home.

“I’m a West Texas guy, I grew up in West Texas and ever since I stepped foot over here it’s been a very family atmosphere,” Leong said. “When I walked in, it felt like family, it was home, and it felt like the right place for me and my family to be.”

Leong said he plans to bring a lot of energy and discipline to the program.

“I want to bring a lot of energy, a lot of discipline, and overall a great athletic program, and something to continue to keep the community excited,” Leong said. “I want to give the community something they’ve been looking for and wanting to see.”

As far as his style of coaching, Leong said fans can expect to see kids working hard and giving it their all.

“It’s about doing things the right way and playing hard on every single down, and just having the never give up, never quit attitude,” Leong said. “Other teams will definitely know when you play us, what type of program we are and that speaks to the hard working community that Levelland is.”

After playing college football and some professional, Leong said he decided to make the switch to coaching because of the impact coaches had made in his life.

“It was because of the people who have changed my life through coaching,” Leong said. “I have had so many coaches that really changed my life and impacted my life, I wanted to give back and in that aspect be able to be a part of something that’s been a part of my life forever and changed my life in a lot of ways.

“I want to be able to give back to the kids and give them an opportunity to achieve things they never thought they could,” Leong continued.

Having that experience playing football gives Leong an advantage in that he knows both sides, what it’s like to be a player and how to guide players to success.

“It plays a big part in it, being on both sides and understanding how it is as a player, how it is as a coach, plays a part and has prepared me for this moment,” Leong said. “I definitely want to share the knowledge of playing and give back not only to the kids, but coaches.

“And, I’m always looking to learn, as well, it’s a growing process for everyone,” Leong continued. “So long as we’re all moving in the same direction, it’s going to be pretty good.”

Leong said he is most excited to get to start working with the student athletes and being a part of the community with his family.

“I’m most excited about seeing these kids compete and getting around these kids and being a part of the community,” Leong said.

Leong and his wife, Janna, have two children, a daughter Logan, 4, and a son, Kenzo, 1.

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