DELHI TOWNSHIP - For the first time in several years, Greg Leurck has a coaching job that is just a tad more than two miles away from where he's employed.
An employee of the Oak Hills School District since 1999, Leurck is now head coach of the Oak Hills Highlanders baseball team, bringing everything full circle. The Bridgetown Middle School teacher was a junior varsity coach for three years and a varsity assistant for 16 at Oak Hills before taking on head coaching jobs at Talawanda, Lakota West and La Salle.
Living in Harrison, the previous stops put many miles on his vehicle.
"It makes it easier being in the district communication-wise and it's a five-minute drive for me to check on a field or get over there for workouts," Leurck said.
While in his first stop at Oak Hills, he coached Josh Richmond, the Greater Miami Conference Coach of the Year who recently stepped down, and his brother, Jake, who was on the most recent staff.
He takes over a team that lost 16 seniors, but was 17-9 and 14-4 in the GMC, tying Mason for the league crown. It was their first league title since 2006 when Leurck was also on staff.
The youngest Richmond, Jameson, will be a senior this spring and is committed to Louisville. Jameson hit .342 and tied for the league lead in home runs with three.
After his initial run as an Oak Hills assistant, Leurck was head coach at Talawanda taking a team that won just six games the previous year to an 11-19 record. For the next three seasons, he headed up the Lakota West Firebirds going 14-11, 25-6 and 16-11. The Firebirds were GMC champs in 2017 and Leurck won GMC Coach of the Year after they made the Ohio Division I state semifinals.
In 2019, the 1994 La Salle grad returned to his alma mater going 14-12. Indiana commit Devin Taylor led the Greater Catholic League-South in hitting as a freshman that season at .443 and RBI with 30.
Leurck stepped away after one season at La Salle, citing the activities of his three children. Eventually, it was the kids who swayed him to return to the dugout.
"Ever since I resigned they've been saying, 'We want you to go back to coaching!'" Leurck said. "This was a family decision. We talked multiple times about what it meant if I missed some select baseball or some track meets. They ultimately supported me and wanted me to do it. They grew up that way going to games. They supported me and my wife was supportive in wanting me to do it."
No staffing decisions have been made, though Leurck hopes to soon make some phone calls. He hopes to build on the past GMC championship season despite the loss of so many seniors.
"There is a lot of talent in Oak Hills," Leurck said. "Traditionally it's a very good baseball school. I want to keep the kids going to Oak Hills in our district. Anybody can beat anybody on a given day in the GMC."
Leurck played college baseball at Shawnee State and Northern Kentucky University and was president of the Southwest Ohio Baseball Coaches Association from 2013-2015.
Leurck's hiring is pending Oak Hills School Board approval Oct. 4.