Home Local Sports George Leidy, longtime coach at St. Edmond’s, remembered for dedication

George Leidy, longtime coach at St. Edmond’s, remembered for dedication

St. Edmond's Academy
St. Edmond's Academy.

BRANDYWINE HUNDRED – George Leidy may not be coaching at St. Edmond’s Academy any longer, but the impact he made during nearly four decades as a volunteer at the all-boys school is hard to miss. The floor in one of the gymnasiums is named in honor of the man who influenced generations of Lancers athletes.
Leidy, 72, died June 23, leaving a void at St. Edmond’s, where he coached basketball, cross country and track. The school is holding a celebration of his life July 19. The ceremony consists of a short prayer service, remembrances from former athletes and a few of Leidy’s favorite food and drinks — pizza, soda, water and oatmeal raisin cookies. Attendees are encouraged to dress casually or wear St. Edmond’s spirit apparel.
Bill D’Amato, St. Edmond’s assistant headmaster and director of alumni relations, said Leidy connected with the school through a family from his native Delaware County, Pa., where he was coaching basketball. He spent a lot of time at St. Edmond’s in the 1979-80 school year, then became an assistant in varsity basketball the following year. He was associated with the school from then until his death.
“The kids here and their families were his second family,” D’Amato said. “Once they left here, he would follow them and keep up with them and try to help them. I got an email from one of them today, one of the Delaware County guys.”
Leidy, an Army veteran of the Vietnam War, was a longtime delivery driver for Pepperidge Farm. D’Amato said Leidy often worked the overnight and early morning hours, which worked with his coaching schedule.
“He’d wake up and have time to come in and go to practice,” he said.
One of Leidy’s players at St. Edmond’s was Nick Sanna, a 1994 graduate. Sanna played basketball for the Lancers and ran “because George asked me to,” he said this week during a break from the basketball camp, which he helps run. He remembered his old coach as a man of few words who made an impact when he did speak.
“He always had the perfect words no matter what the situation was. He knew how to motivate you as player. As a coach, he had a way with the kids. As a friend, if we had a tough loss, he would give me the best advice. His words were always on point,” Sanna said.
Sanna has a chance to use what he learned from Leidy at St. Mark’s High School, where he is the boys’ basketball coach and an assistant in baseball. For a while, he was an assistant to Leidy in cross country at St. Edmond’s. His influence on his players remained strong even as years passed.
“He really embodied the vision of St. Edmond’s — work hard, do your job, treat others the way you want to be treated,” Sanna said. “George had such an impact, not just on people at St. Edmond’s. Even at the end, families from other schools and other teams came back and were part of his life because he had that kind of impact on people.”
After Leidy’s death, D’Amato received a photo of Leidy as a member of the Penn State basketball team in the late 1960s. Sanna said Leidy was a playground legend in Happy Valley and was invited to join the varsity team after the coaches saw him perform.
The George Leidy Fund has been established at St. Edmond’s to support athletics. All gifts in his memory can be sent to the school at 2120 Veale Road, Wilmington, DE 19810.