Victorious! is the story of Sacred Heart-Griffin coach Ken Leonard, the winningest high school football coach in Illinois history, and his son, Derek, who won eight state championships in a 10-year period at Rochester, an unprecedented feat at a public school in Illinois. USA Today named Ken the National High School Coach of the Year for all sports in 2022. Even more compelling than the behind-the-scenes look at those championship runs and near-misses is the faith journey of the Leonard family, a story of tragedy, triumph and finding salvation in a barber shop.
About the Author
Mike Chamness had an award-winning career in journalism, and in 2023 was inducted into the Springfield (Illinois) Sports Hall of Fame for his work as Sports Editor of the State Journal-Register. He also was inducted into the Murphysboro (Illinois) High School Sports Hall of Fame as well as the Academy of Distinguished Alumni at the school. Following his career as a sports editor and columnist at The Southern Illinoisan and State Journal-Register newspapers, he served as Director of Communications for the Illinois Office of the Secretary of State and for the Illinois Association of School Administrators. He also served as Director of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and for more that 15 years as Chairman of the Illinois Terrorism Task Force after the attacks of 9/11.