Steve Lennox, a member of the Delaware County Athletes Hall of Fame who coached his football teams to more than 300 victories, has retired after 27 years as Interboro’s head coach.
Lennox made the announcement at the Bucs’ season-ending awards and dinner banquet Monday night.
One of the most respected sports figures in Delaware County, Lennox compiled a 313-115-2 record in 38 years as a high school football head coach. He registered 229 wins at Interboro, making him the fourth-winningest football coaches in county history, behind Kevin Clancy of Strath Haven, Ridley’s Joe McNicholas and Garnet Valley’s Mike Ricci.
“It’s tough to walk away,” Lennox said Tuesday night. “If I didn’t enjoy what I was doing, I wouldn’t have been doing it for as long as I have. I always said I have the best job in Delaware County. Our kids … they’re not big, they’re not fast, but they work hard and they’re tough, physical kids, and I loved coaching them.
“My job was made easier because of the support of the parents and the community. And all of my coaches, they do such a great job and they always go above and beyond.”
As coaches picked up on new fads, Lennox never wavered from his old-school methods. He was a ground-and-pound football coach and never deviated from what made him successful.
To his players, Lennox’s selling points were hard work and dedication to the team. Over the years, thousands of players bought in. It became known as The Buc Way.
“It’s so much more than football. You want to see kids become great people, too,” he said. “And that’s always nice to see when they come back. Whether they want to coach or not, or whatever they are doing in life, just to see them again and see them doing well … that’s what matters. Even if it’s just stopping by to say hello for five minutes, it’s great to see all of our guys go on and be good people.”
Lennox was a three-sport athlete at Collingdale High. He was quarterback of the football team and a baseball pitcher at Millersville University.
He began his coaching career as a volunteer assistant for legendary Ridley head coach Phil Marion before moving on to coach at Brandywine and A.I. DuPont high schools in Delaware. He earned his first head coaching position at Dickinson, where he won a Delaware state championship in 1992.
Lennox was hired as head coach at Interboro in 1993. He won 16 Del Val League titles, including 10 in a row. From 1997-2000, Lennox guided the Bucs to 41 consecutive victories. He also posted two undefeated seasons in 1998 and 1999.
Interboro captured its one and only District 1 championship in 2012.
Lennox has countless favorite moments, saying, “any win is memorable because it’s hard to do,” he said. But there are two games that stick out more than most.
In 1993, Interboro’s new boss led the team to victory on Thanksgiving against rival Ridley.
“The reaction afterwards was just unbelievable. You had grown men tackling each other, they were just so happy,” he said. “It was really cool. The spontaneous rushing on the field … I think I was tackled twice myself.”
In 2002, Lennox and the Bucs were the No. 7 seed in the state tournament and traveled to No. 2 Hazleton. During pre-game warm-ups, Hazleton players were pointing and laughing at the underdog Bucs.
“They thought we brought the JV team,” Lennox said. “Our kids were so fired up, I remember thinking, well, this is going to be interesting.”
Interboro stunned Hazleton in two overtimes.
“Their running back, I think it was (Josh) Heck, he ran for 325 yards. But every time he would score, we would score,” Lennox said. “Afterwards, the setting at Hazleton, I remember there was a mist coming down. It was just an awesome scene … and their fans were in shock.”
In recent seasons, the wins were scarce. The last two years were two of the most trying seasons at Interboro under Lennox’s watch. The Bucs bottomed out in 2019 when they lost their first nine games and failed to qualify for the District 1 postseason.
However, Interboro ended the season on a two-game winning streak, beating Chichester in a makeup game, then handing Lennox a perfect send off on Thanksgiving. Considered heavy underdogs against Ridley, the Bucs managed a 28-21 victory in the 51st annual Turkey Bowl between the MacDade Boulevard neighbors.
It was the final – and one of the most rewarding – wins of Lennox’s legendary career. He was 12-11 all-time against Ridley on Thanksgiving.
Many of Lennox’s coaching colleagues and former players offered their praise of the longtime coach. Jeff Allison, who has spent the last 10 seasons as defensive coordinator at Garnet Valley, is an Interboro graduate who coached under Lennox for more than a decade.
“Great coach, great mentor, great teacher, great friend,” Allison said. “I coach because of what he taught me 22 years ago cutting my teeth. He’s the best.”
Joe Coffey coached under Lennox before joining the staff at Avon Grove a few years ago. Pending school board approval, Coffey is slated to become the next coach at Avon Grove.
“Forever grateful to learn from an absolute great man and coach,” Coffey tweeted. “Thanks Coach Lennox for the memories and wisdom.”
Casey Simpkins, a 2009 Interboro graduate and an assistant coach and English teacher at Sun Valley, called Lennox “one of the most influential people in my life.”
“He instilled values that I carry with me every day. I was certainly not his best player, but he always invested in me,” Simpkins published on social media. “He wrote me letters of recommendation, attended my high school graduation party, and even somehow found out about the ONE time I got ejected from a hockey game … when he wasn’t even in attendance. As a coach, I find myself using many of his “isms” on a weekly basis. He is a true G.O.A.T. (Greatest Of All Time) and I will forever be thankful for him. Congrats on a legendary career, Coach.”
Lennox has produced more than 50 All-Delco First Team players and sent many more student-athletes to college football programs.
Lennox is looking forward to spending more time with his grandchildren in retirement. There are no immediate plans to retire from his faculty position at Interboro, where he teaches 12th grade government.
“I was very fortunate,” he said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better job. I loved what I did, most of all, because of our kids. That’s why I kept coming back.”