St. John's Prep officially announced the hiring of two new head coaches this morning in a press conference inside the school's Xavier Hall, both internal promotions -- Danny Letarte for baseball, and Connor Fortin for water polo.
Letarte takes over for Pat Yanchus, who stepped down last season after 33 years as head coach, with 491 wins and two MIAA Division 1 State Championships (1999, 2000) to his name. Letarte served as an assistant in two separate stints (1994-2003, 2007-present), and was also the head varsity basketball coach from 1996-2008. A 1986 graduate of Prep, Letarte was inducted into the school's Hall of Fame in 2003.
Some quotables from Letarte in his press conference, his first interview as head coach:
Biggest thing he's picked up from Yanchus over the years: "Winning (laughs). But in all honesty with Pat, it's his approach to the game. Really calm, passionate, had a good relationship with the players. I think that's really important. It makes the players play really, really loose, and strong. I think just honestly, his personality blends in with his coaching so well, that I think that rubbed off on me a lot, as a coach and as a player for him. Probably the nicest patient man I've ever met in my life, to be quite honest. When he comes out of the dugout, you know it's a bad call (laughs)."
On his coaching approach and philosophy: "I know this -- we're gonna practice hard, the whole program. A lot of our seniors passed on, but there's a lot of talent. Every year, we'll just try to put our best team forth. Pitching is always going to be important. We'll develop young pitchers and get them into good shape."
How much of the coaching staff will remain: "The whole coaching staff will remain intact, and I think that helps the continuity of the program. The only person not returning is Pat. It's pretty clear cut, Ryan Leahy and Chris Conway will return [as varsity assistants], Brother Bob [Flaherty] will return to coach the freshmen, coach [Peter] Mathison will coach the JV's. Everybody is intact, and I think that's really good for the continuity."