Elkhart Central High School Coach, 1968 – 94
2015 Doc Counsilman Award Winner
Karen Leeth served as the girls swimming coach at Elkhart Central High School for 26 years. In addition, she coached the boys swimming team for two years and was an assistant athletic director for 15 years. When Karen retired in 1994, she had a lifetime coaching record of 366 wins, 27 losses, and 1 tie. During that time her girls’ teams had a 234 dual meet winning streak which was a National Federation of State High School Association national record for consecutive dual meet wins for many years and still ranks second all-time. Her team’s accomplishments include 14 Northern Indiana Conference titles, 19 sectional championships, and six state runner-up titles. Karen’s teams produced a total of 16 individual state champions. She was honored as the Sectional Coach of the Year 18 times and State Coach of the Year nine times. Additional honors that Karen has received are the Lion’s Club Outstanding Citizen Award, 15-year Service Award from the Indiana Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association, 25-year Service Award from the National Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association, 20-year and 30-year Coaching Awards from the Indiana Coaches of Girls Sports Association, and the Key to the City of Elkhart from Mayor Pete Sarantos. Karen is a graduate of the South Bend St. Joseph’s High School and Ball State University. After she retired from a 27-year teaching, coaching, and athletic administrative career with Elkhart Community Schools, she served as athletic director at Munster High School for four years. She passed away in 2003 after an extensive battle with cancer.