Mariemont City Schools Announces New Head Basketball Coach
On April 21, Jim Leon will be recommended to the Mariemont Board of Education as the new head basketball coach of the Mariemont City School District’s boys basketball program. Leon has coached over 30 years, beginning his coaching career at St. Antonius grade school, and then coaching high school basketball at Summit Country Day, followed by Western Hills, Woodward, Clark Montessori and St. Ursula Academy.
“Coach Leon has enjoyed a successful and respected coaching career in Cincinnati, and we’re excited to add Jim to our coaching staff to lead our Warriors basketball program,” said Tom Nerl, athletic director at Mariemont City Schools. “Jim’s personality, knowledge and passion for the game, and his enthusiasm for working with student athletes, made him the ideal candidate for our community.”
Coach Leon holds a winning record, with 321 wins and 185 losses across 21 seasons as a head basketball coach. Twenty of his players have received Division I college scholarships, and he has coached three McDonald’s All-Americans. He has worked at a basketball clinic in Cincinnati with Michael Jordan; he was an assistant coach for Magic Johnson at the Motor City Roundball Classic in Detroit in 1992; he hired Mick Cronin, head coach at UC, for his first coaching job at Woodward in 1991; and in 1992 he hired former assistant coach Monte Mathis, who is now an assistant coach with the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks. He also led his team to a state championship in 1988; final four in 1989; and state runner-up in 1990. He holds 13 straight league titles and five city championships. He said he loves working at the high school level, even though he has had college-level offers in the past.
“I love being around these young student athletes to see a team come together with confidence and skill,” said Coach Leon. “It’s all about teaching and learning together, learning to win and lose with character. I love to motivate the athletes and it’s great fun to grow together. It’s been my whole life.”
Pending board approval, Coach Leon plans to get started right away, meeting the players and their families and building his coaching staff. “I am looking forward to this chance to coach in a small community. I want to be visible and helpful while creating a family atmosphere with the team and in the community,” said Leon. “We’re going to work hard together to make an impact on the CHL, the city and the state.”
Coach Leon is a Cincinnati native and a graduate of Elder High School and Xavier University. He and his wife and daughter reside in Kenwood.