Coach. High school coaches the caliber of Leonard Bond always seem to credit good fortune regarding outstanding players under their guidance. Usually, it is no accident. As head football and track coach at Omaha North High School between 1948 to 1975, Coach Bond worked constantly to increase the quality of athletes under his guidance. His varsity record was a healthy 114-26, with many protégés all-conference and all-state. On the gridiron, the 1960s were particularly outstanding, such as the undefeated state champion 1961 team which had a legendary backfield known as the Four Norsemen (Bob Churchich, Rick Davis, Danny Miller and Rookie Taylor).
BY MIKE PATTERSON WORLD HERALD STAFF WRITER, 8/27/04
When Leonard Bond wanted to get his team’s attention, it didn’t take much. Simply straightening his tie was usually enough.
That’s how much respect his players had for the longtime coach, who died Thursday of cancer at age 81. Bond taught at North for 27 years and was the Vikings’ head football coach for 16.
“Leonard was a great man,” said Jerry Murtaugh. “He and his two assistants really taught me everything about life.”Murtaugh played for Bond and went on to star at Nebraska. He still holds the Huskers’ career record for tackles with 342.
“Coach Bond taught me the importance of going to class, and the importance of staying out of trouble,” Murtaugh said. “He was all about hard work and determination, and I never would have made it to college without him.”
Murtaugh added that all of Bond’s players knew when it was time to quiet down in the locker room.
“When he straightened that tie and cleared his throat, that was enough,” he said. “We knew we’d better listen to what he had to say.”
Bond, who was inducted into the Nebraska High School Hall of Fame in 1998, had plenty to say in his years at Omaha North. Shortly after arriving there, he coached four sports – football, basketball, baseball and track.
“He got paid $50 per sport,” said his son, Mike. “Coaching was something he really enjoyed.”
He coached the Vikings’ freshman and junior varsity football teams for 11 years before guiding the varsity from 1959 to 1974. His teams won or shared Metro Conference American Division titles four times and went undefeated twice.
Bond coached North’s famed Four Norsemen – Bob Churchich, Rick Davis, Danny Miller and Rookie Taylor. Those four, who played together in 1962, made up what’s still considered to be one of the best high school backfields in the state.
Bond’s son, Tim, was a Metro Conference head football coach for 25 years. He stepped down last season after 20 years at Omaha Bryan and is now an assistant at Millard South.
In addition to raising six children, Bond and his wife, Bette, also cared for foster children for several years.
“He instilled in all of us a sense of right and wrong,” said Mike Bond. “It’s something that was always very important to him.”