Leal named Head Basketball Coach at Wartburg

Sam Leal has been named the next head men’s basketball coach at Wartburg College, John Cochrane, the Lowell J. Walker Chair of Athletics Directorship Endowed Chair and Director of Athletics, announced today.
“I am pleased to be able to welcome Sam Leal as the next head men’s basketball coach at Wartburg College,” said Cochrane. “Sam made it very apparent in our earliest conversations that he possessed all the characteristics that we were seeking in the next leader of our men’s basketball program. He has a genuineness in the way he carries himself that enables him to establish a quick rapport with young people and his passion for the game is evident and pervasive in everything that he does. His strong work ethic and commitment to excellence will fit seamlessly into the fabric of our program and will allow him to quickly form those relationships that are so necessary to effectively recruit in this environment. I want to thank Sam for the enthusiasm in which he is embracing this challenge and we are so excited to welcome him to the Wartburg family.”
Leal comes to Wartburg from the University of Maine at Farmington, where he served as the head coach for the past four seasons. Prior to his time at Maine Farmington, he was also an assistant coach at both Bates College and Springfield College.
The Beavers were 53-25 under his direction at the University of Maine at Farmington, which is the best overall record of all 11 Division III schools in Maine. During his tenure at Maine Farmington, Leal led the Beavers to the NAC Tournament every season, including a run to the tournament championship game in 2022-23.  Over the four seasons he coached four all-conference players (no All-Conference given in 2020-21), including the 2022-23 North Atlantic Conference (NAC) Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year. Leal was also named NAC Coach of the Year in the 2022-23 season. Following a 19-win season in 2022-23 that saw eight seniors graduate, Leal led the Beavers to 18 wins the next season.
“I am incredibly grateful and honored to be chosen to lead this program and am sincerely grateful to Athletic Director John Cochrane and the rest of the hiring committee for entrusting me,” said Leal. “I could feel how special of a place Wartburg is the day I stepped on campus.  The students have great energy, the faculty is passionate, and the staff is committed to building a terrific student-athlete experience. I cannot wait to get to Wartburg and start putting in the work to build a program with the players, campus, and community.”
Leal was a four-year member of the basketball team at the University of Maine at Farmington, where he was captain his junior and senior seasons. He helped lead his team to a regular season NAC title in his junior year and then was apart of a NAC tournament finalist team in his final season. Leal earned both NAC All-Academic honors and National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Coaches Honors Court.
“I am equally elated for Coach Leal and for Wartburg College. It is a great and challenging opportunity for Sam. I know he will embrace the wonderful tradition of Wartburg Basketball, and contribute to the college as a whole,” said Charlie Brock, who is the former head coach at Springfield College as well as former NABC President in 2018-19.
Leal earned his Bachelor of Arts in secondary education mathematics from the University of Maine at Farmington and then went on to earn his Master of Science degree in sport and exercise psychology. Leal will begin his duties at Wartburg beginning Monday, May 6.