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Ex-starting QB embarking on teaching and coaching journey

Mack+Leftwich+saw+his+UTEP+career+cut+short+due+to+injury%2C+but+the+former+starting+quarterback+has+found+a+new+calling+in+the+high+school+teaching+and+coaching+ranks.
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Mack Leftwich saw his UTEP career cut short due to injury, but the former starting quarterback has found a new calling in the high school teaching and coaching ranks.

Spring 2016 was supposed to be the season when Mack Leftwich returned to the gridiron and led the way for the Miners’ starting quarterback race. He was coming off a tough fall football season, where he suffered two concussions that limited him to eight games. This could have been his time.

However, fate had a different idea in store for the gunslinger. Leftwich left a spring practice with a shoulder injury that would require surgery. He was ruled out of playing in the fall before the season had even started.

After rehabilitation, Leftwich gave throwing another shot, but never quite fully recovered from the injury.

“I never got back to my full strength physically,” said Leftwich, who started seven games in 2015. “I couldn’t come back.”

What started as a hard decision to call his collegiate career quits turned into a blessing in disguise. During the winter break, Leftwich decided that he wanted to graduate and enter the coaching field.

“It’s been a hard process in the sense that it was tough leaving the football team,” Leftwich said. “I knew I never really had NFL aspirations and I was actually mentally prepared for it to go into coaching afterwards.”

It was his father, UTEP assistant coach/offensive line coach Spencer Leftwich, who prompted Leftwich to go into coaching.

“My dad is a coach and growing up I’ve always been around football,” Leftwich said. “I love football and I want to make an impact on kids and see them grow. Now it’s finally time for me to do this and I’ve never questioned it.”

While some may come off of a career-ending injury and cling to the “what-if’” scenarios, Leftwich does not have any bitterness for leaving the team.

“It feels pretty good; I’m ready to move onto another chapter in my life,” he said. “When I graduate, I plan on being a math teacher and a coach. There’s a couple of opportunities around here and around the area.”

After Christmas break, came much needed work for Leftwich. He was required to take 21 hours so he could graduate on time and join programs to train him about teaching.

“I’ve been busy this spring,” he said. “I’m taking 21 hours plus this math academy course, where I get observation of a class setting and get ready for teaching. I didn’t really have a choice, and right after Christmas break, it all started.”

The former quarterback decided to go into the math field because of the opportunity he’s seen in the field.

“Math was always what I was best at,” Leftwich said. “There’s always a shortage of math teachers, so there’s opportunities to get jobs.”

As he mentioned, he is undergoing intensive training for the classroom setting—something Leftwich felt he had not been prepared for yet.

“I didn’t really have to prepare for any coaching training. I’ve done a lot more preparation for teaching math. In a sense, I’ve been around great coaches for a long time by being around it so much,” Leftwich said. “I think I’m more prepared for the football part, but the classroom is a whole different animal.”

As a future coach at the high school level, he also promises that he will be the first to persuade players, who want to go to the higher level, to play for the Miners.

“I definitely will be an advocate for coach ‘Kugs’ and his program. It’s the least I can do for everything he and the staff have done for me,” he said.

Leftwich has been described by his former teammates as a wizard of the game. In 2015, he led the Miners with 1,228 passing yards, nine touchdown passes and only threw three interceptions all season.

“When I found out he was going into coaching I told him he is going to be a great coach,” said Ryan Metz, UTEP’s starting quarterback. “That guy has a lot of football intelligence and the way he was able to help me, I can only imagine how he will be able to help out players preparing to go into college. And who knows, I think he will even find his way coaching into the college level. The coaching world picked up a good one in Mack Leftwich.”

His younger brother, Cutter Leftwich, who played for Franklin High School, committed to play for the Miners and will join the team during the summer.

“My advice (to Cutter) would be to be confident,” Mack Leftwich said. “He’s there for a reason, so he can compete with them. Don’t waste time and work every day to be the best you can be.”

Reflecting on his time with the Miners, Mack Leftwich hopes that he paved the way for a steady progression in the Miners’ program.

“I hope I made an impact on the program and helped some of the guys grow as leaders. I hope the program is in a better position than when I first got here,” he said.

Mack Leftwich hopes to have the answer of where he will coach by the end of this week, but his goals are so much higher for the future.

“Eventually, I would like to move up to college football,” he said. “That would be something I’d be interested in because I’ve been around it for so long. But for now, I’ll take it one step at a time.”

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About the Contributor
Adrian Broaddus, Sports Editor
Adrian Broaddus is the sports editor for The Prospector. He is a junior multimedia journalism major with a minor in political science.   Adrian was born and raised in El Paso, TX, and is a graduate of Franklin high school. He entered college in the fall of 2015 in hopes to better his career in journalism.   Along with sports, Adrian enjoys writing music reviews, perspective columns and news stories on politics.   Although he is pursuing his degree in journalism, Adrian would like to go to law school and be an attorney while doing part-time work in journalism.  
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Ex-starting QB embarking on teaching and coaching journey