Leppla ‘ecstatic’ to take over WH football program

Leppla ‘ecstatic’ to take over WH football program

Keaton Leppla, a 2013 West Holmes graduate, is excited to take over as head coach of the Knights football program.


Keaton Leppla was born and raised in Holmes County.

He graduated from West Holmes High School in 2013 and still lives in the area.

So when the varsity football head coach job became available at his alma mater, Leppla didn’t hesitate to apply. Leppla was named WH’s next football coach on Feb. 9, beating out several other candidates for the job.

“It means everything (to come back and be the head coach at my alma mater),” Leppla said. “West Holmes holds a pretty special place in my heart. It’s a place that I started out as a teenager and turned into a young man and kind of is responsible for a lot of the things that I’ve been able to do to this point.

“This place gave me so much. I want to come back and do the same thing. I want to pay it forward to all the kids in the community and just show them what a special place it is and just continue that rich tradition of West Holmes football.”

Leppla coached at Ohio Cardinal Conference rival Wooster for the past five years. He served as associate head coach/defensive coordinator for the past three years. He was the linebacker coach/junior varsity head coach during his first two years.

Leppla started his coaching career at Danville, where he served as linebacker/running back coach from 2017-18.

Leppla’s final three years at Wooster gave him experience he’ll lean on as a first-time varsity head coach.

As the defensive coordinator, Leppla ran the defensive room. He was involved with film breakdown, planning practices and drills, and creating scout cards. Essentially, he was the head coach of the defense.

His time as the associate head coach helped him understand the behind-the-scenes stuff that comes with running a program such as budgeting, fundraising, getting equipment ready and handing out jerseys.

“Having that tag allowed me to see all the back-end stuff and work hand in hand with our current head coach and not just see how all of the Xs and Os during the season but to get the whole picture of what a program entails, how it works and all of the moving parts that allow a program to operate successfully,” Leppla said.

Leppla comes to West Holmes with an extensive defensive background. Before coaching on the defensive side of the ball, Leppla played football collegiately at Ohio Wesleyan University, where he started 33 games at linebacker. He was a team captain as a senior.

Leppla earned All-Ohio Cardinal Conference first-team honors three times during his high school career at West Holmes. He was named to the All-Ohio special mention team as a senior. He also was a team captain as a senior, helping lead the 2012 team to the regional finals.

He’s in the process of building his coaching staff and hasn’t yet determined if he’ll call the defensive plays at West Holmes or take on more of a CEO role. Leppla said the offensive and defensive schemes they run next year will be determined by what best fits his players’ skillsets.

Leppla is inheriting a program that has had lots of recent success, reaching the regional semifinals each of the past four years, including the program’s first state semifinals berth in 2021.

“I just want everybody to know that I’m absolutely ecstatic for this opportunity,” said Leppla, who turns 29 soon. “I don’t take it lightly, and me and my family are ready to immerse ourselves back into the community that we grew up in and are just really excited for this fall.”

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