Beyond the Locker Room: Bears’ Michael Leach credits faith with success

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Most Chicago Bears fans may have wondered who was the man they always saw on the sidelines next to head coach Lovie Smith during the season. That young man is Michael Leach, the faith-driven assistant to coach Smith who’s living a dream of working a

Most Chicago Bears fans may have wondered who was the man they always saw on the sidelines next to head coach Lovie Smith during the season. That young man is Michael Leach, the faith-driven assistant to coach Smith who’s living a dream of working and traveling with an NFL team.

With religion being the center of professional sports more than ever as a result of the media coverage of Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, faith has come to the forefront of the league, which Leach also credits to his success.

Twenty-four-year-old Michael Leach has been with the Bears throughout the season as the special assistant to Smith, serving as a liaison between the head coach and the rest of the staff.

Leach was born and raised in Chicago and is a graduate of the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. He has always been involved in sports and was encouraged by his brother to find his career by putting two of his passions together: business and sports.

“I didn’t know what I wanted to do {in my career},” Leach told the Defender. “I knew I had graduated for sports, but I knew I also had a love for business as well.”

The coach’s assistant credits a conversation he had in his freshman year with another student with motivating him to fully pursue a career in sports management. The student had sent a letter to the schools men’s head basketball coach, which opened up doors for him.

“From that conversation, it hit me really hard and I thought, ‘Man, that’s something I want to do. Why am I not writing letters and trying to get internships? It told me that thereµs always someone in the world, no matter what you’re doing in life who would love to walk in your shoes and be doing exactly what you want to do. After that conversation, I just hit the ground running and began pursuing goals on becoming successful in sports business.”

Leach managed to become involved with the football team as a volunteer equipment manager in college, which turned into a paid position. He got the chance to travel with the team as the defensive charter, charting defensive plays for the team in his sophomore year.

His hard work landed him a position in advertising with the Chicago Bears in 2007 that later turned into a job offer after graduating from U of I and grad school at St. Thomas University in Miami, Fl. Smith flew him out to meet with him and was given the job he had been so persistent of.

“It’s been nothing but a Godsend,” Leach said about working with Lovie Smith. “I’m a firm believer that you block your dreams when you allow your fear to grow bigger than your faith. Working with Lovie has helped me to eliminate my fears and increase my faith.”

Leach, who recently became engaged to his fiancΘe Brittany, intends to continue working towards his aspirations of being a better professional and becoming an NFL executive on a league-wide level that impacts the masses.

“I see myself using my experiences to inspire people to believe they can become whatever it is they want to become,” he said. “I see myself using that, whether it’s through motivational speaking or simply visiting colleges or high schools. I think my story is considered as a very strong vehicle for others to fuel the fire to their passion.”

Faith, prayer and obedience are the most significant aspects Leach points to as reasons he’s in this position. He lives by the mantra, “Your network will always equal you net worth” and stated he believes he’s only scratched the surface of his success.

Copyright 2012 Chicago Defender

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