Photo of Leon McKenzie

Leon McKenzieLeon McKenzie

Photo of Leon McKenzie
School: Benson Graduation Year: 1971

Year Inducted: 2014

Sports Played: Coach, Football, Basketball, Baseball, Track and Field

High School Honors: Football: 2-year letter winner, All-PIL as senior, leading rusher and scorer; 2nd leading scorer in state; 2nd team All-State; ’71 Shrine All-Star game. Basketball: 2-year letter winner, member of 1971 State championship team. Baseball: 2-year letter winner, 2nd team All-PIL in 1971 and played in East-West PIL all-star series. Track: Ran sprints in track meets when baseball games rained out, 1971.

Post High School Career: Played football at Oregon State for 4 years. Coached Benson track for 29 years; named Oregon high school Coach of the Year 15 times, Regional Coach of the Year and National Coach of the year twice each. His women team won 7 State titles and men 4 titles; both teams winning in 2004. Coached 3 HS All-Americans. Nine of his teams set 9 state records; His athletes won 46 gold medals at state and 73 others were 2nd or 3rd in individual events; 30 relay teams were 1st, 20 by women, 10 by men. Inducted into the Benson Hall of Fame as an athlete in 2008 and coach in 2014. A high percentage of his track athletes are now college graduates.

Commentary:

My coaching philosophy: The greatest value in coaching the youth lies not in the amount of victories or championships but lies in how many lives you touch — promoting education and establishing lifelong relationships. A coach is a teacher, mentor, counselor, friend, and sometimes a parent where there is none.

I would like to thank many of the coaches who assisted me and contributed greatly to the Benson track & field legacy. Coaches: John Mays, Conway Mcallister, Isaiah Clark, Jeff Blake, Scott McCarty, Dominique Merriweather, Lavon Pierce, Dale Gerber, Phil Waldon, Guy Gerber

As a student athlete I would like to thank all the coaches and mentors who helped me along the way during my high school years: Mike Lopez, Ollie Johnson, Gordy Reese, Dick Hennessey, Bill Ranta and Phil Waldon.

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