FORT MILL — The Nation Ford Falcons have hired a new varsity head wrestling coach.
Leon Boulware, 26, comes from Lancaster High School, where he was head wrestling coach for the Bruins for the past two seasons.
A former Rock Hill Bearcat wrestler, Boulware started coaching after he graduated from Central Piedmont Community College in 2008 by working at Castle Heights Middle School in Rock Hill, building their feeder program. He worked there for three years at Castle Heights before taking the Lancaster job.
Boulware said he took the job at Nation Ford to help further build the program that has seen some success in its early years. The school, Fort Mill’s second high school, opened in 2007.
“I still live in Rock Hill, so it was closer to home for me,” he said. “And the Fort Mill area is known for its great wrestling.”
He takes the place of Paul Richardson, who served as wrestling coach at Nation Ford for the past five seasons. Richardson remains at the school and still serves as a teacher and assistant football coach.
Being recently married within the past year and having to deal with a back injury he suffered last year that required surgery, Richardson said it was time for him to take a break from the sport.
“It was a combination of things,” he said. “I thought after back surgery that I needed to take time and work on myself some.”
Under Richardson, the Falcons’ program flourished in crowing its first two individual state champions in Stewart Snodgrass (2011) and Markevis Duncan (2012).
“We have developed into one of the top programs individually having placed people in the top three in the state the past four years now,” Richardson said. “I have been helping Boulware with the transition showing him the ropes and helping him with the little things.”
Boulware said he hopes that program will take even more steps upward under his guidance.
“Getting the program off on the right foot is the key,” he said. “The guys are energetic about the transition from individual wrestling to team wrestling.”
Boulware and his wife, Malisa, have two young sons under the age of 5.
He has worked in the special needs area of education and is looking to line something up within Nation Ford or at Springfield Middle School, he said.