Bobby Leach is the football coach at Wallkill Valley (N.J.) High School, but hardly anyone calls him Coach Leach. That’s because, to the masses, he’s Barefoot Bobby.
As one might expect from a nickname like Barefoot Bobby, Leach coaches sans socks and shoes. Always. According to NJ.com, that even includes when the temperature plummets below where normal human beings would consider wearing sandals or open-toed footwear, let alone going without coverings on the feet altogether.
When it’s 43 degrees at Hopatcong (N.J.) High School? No problem. Barefoot Bobby is right in his comfort zone.
“You’d have to check my history,” Leach told NJ.com. “I just don’t like having anything on my feet. If I could be barefoot all the time, I would be.”
While the Shoeless Joe act has spawned plenty of side glances, his results have earned the trust of his players, even those who were among the first to question a man coaching without shoes. In 2018, Wallkill Valley is 8-1 and has earned just its fourth playoff berth ever, and his players acknowledge that much of the team’s success is due to its enigmatic coach.
And, depending on what the weather turns up during Wallkill Valley’s playoff run, the team can rest assured that their coach will be comfortable. After all, when he was the head coach at Sussex Tech (Sparta Township, N.J.), he once coached barefoot in inches of snow. Last Friday, he celebrated his team’s first-ever division title with a postgame beverage at a local watering hole alongside his fellow coaches … barefoot of course.
All in a day’s work for one of the most notable coaches in the Northeast, for personal custom first and, perhaps, success on the field as well.