Wagoner’s Coach Leland Alexander – “Spirit of Success” Presented by Firstar Bank

“Run fast and keep turning left”…until you cross the finish line. It’s words that every track coach speaks to encourage the best results from their athletes. Ironically for Leland Alexander of Wagoner, the oval of success has come full circle.

A 1992 graduate of Okmulgee High School, Alexander displayed his own talents in football, wrestling and track. It’s those same sports years later that he finds daily pleasure in coaching at Wagoner that continue to result in success in competition as well as in helping students learn lessons for life.

“In these days and times you need to be able to build good relationships with your kids. When they feel that you care about them above everything else they’ll do a better job for you, they’ll buy in and trust that you’re always going to do what’s in their best interest.  I try to make sure that I help the kids learn about life lessons and to become a responsible person,” Alexander explained about his game plan of coaching. 

“It’s not about the wins and losses, it’s about the life lessons you can help kids learn through playing sports. Learning how to deal with disappointment, adversity, with highs and lows, being able to bounce back and how to adapt to any situation to help make you a successful person.”

Alexander’s personal style of coaching is something he learned while growing up through the impact of cherished relationships with family and from his high school coach.

“My uncle Gerard Alexander is one of those coaching influences that in everything I do, I try to model him,” Alexander said with confidence. “He’s been successful in getting the most out of his kids because he developed a good relationship outside of sports. They believe he cares about them and want to do their best for him.”

A high school football teammate with current Wagoner head football coach Dale Condict, coach Alexander credits the influences of Tom Condict who was his football coach at Okmulgee for shaping his philosophy and getting him started in the coaching field.

“Tom Condict was a man of integrity and showed his players everyday how much he cared about them and the winning results followed,” Alexander said in appreciation. “After I graduated from OU, I called him about wanting to get into coaching and within 48 hours, I had three interviews and a couple job offers.”

Alexander’s trail of success started from one of those job offers at Jarman Junior High in Midwest City resulting in a quick turnaround to winning during his four-year stay.

“I was thrown into the fire as head coach of their football, wrestling and track programs that hadn’t been very successful,” explained Alexander. “But with hard work and a lot of love, those kids believed they could win resulting in Jarman winning their first conference football title as well as winning girls and boys track championships three years in a row.”

Alexander would then coach one year at Midwest City High School and one season at Edmond Memorial before getting a phone call from his former high school teammate about coming to Wagoner.

“When Dale got the job in Wagoner, he called and offered me the chance to be a part of his coaching staff. I wanted to move back closer to home and felt confident about the good things that were going to happen here,” said Alexander.

Alexander was a Bulldog once again, Wagoner style, where success has followed as an assistant in football and wrestling as well as the girls and boys head track coach.

“Track wasn’t always a big thing here at Wagoner. My first year we had five boys and four girls and now this year I had over 40 boys wanting to come out and compete and 25 girls that were willing to work hard to achieve success,” explained Alexander. 

The net result this season found Wagoner winning another regional team championship followed by his athletes earning gold medals at the state championships.

“Track isn’t an easy sport …you have to put in the hard work in practice so when you go to the meets it’s a reward for your efforts. As a coach, you also have to make it fun for them at the same time.”

The combination of hard work, fun and building relationships has resulted in the Wagoner track program winning at the finish line thanks to Alexander’s family style approach, an area where he credits the support of family for building a winning environment.

“That’s what I love about Wagoner, its all a family atmosphere,” said Alexander. “I’m blessed to have the support of my wife Leslie, she’s my biggest fan along with my two daughters Emily and Taleah. 

And because of Alexander’s influence with students and relationships among his peers and the community, Wagoner schools has named “Coach A” as the dean of students for next year.  

“It’s going to be different duties but it’s still about building relationships. And, I hope to still have a helping hand with the track program.”

Whether on the track or in the hallways of the school, Leland Alexander does things right. Not because of the thrill of victory but even more because of an everyday focus of doing what’s best for the kids, today and for the rest of their lives.

Or plainly spoken, through a Spirit of Success.