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Highly successful coach Bob Letsch let go at Racine St. Catherine's

05/10/2014, 3:30pm CDT
By Mark Miller

One of the state's most successful high school basketball coaches apparently will not return to the sidelines during the 2014-15 season.

Bob Letsch, who has been the head coach at St. Catherine's High School in Racine for the past 35 years, was informed today by school administrators he will not be retained as the Angels' coach, has learned through various sources.

Sources indicated Letsch was told this week to either retire or resign from his coaching position at the Metro Classic Conference school.

Lestch refused to do either, but St. Catherine's administartors nonetheless went ahead and made the move to dismiss him as the Angels' head coach.

"The President of our school (Christopher Olley) wanted me to retire and I said I wanted to keep on coaching," Letsch said Saturday evening. "So then he said he would non-renew me as coach so I said you go ahead and non-renew me as coach.

"I sometimes confront people and he told me not to do that. I confronted our athletic director (Corey Scheel) and for the first time in 49 years, I got written up by an A.D. In the past if I had issues with our A.D., we talked it out."

Letsch, who has won 633 games against just 230 defeats to rank second in all-time victories in the state, retired as a teacher from the school a few years ago. He has continued to coach the varsity team after his retirement from the classroom and led the Angels to a 19-6 record last season. learned from sources there had been some friction between Letsch and administrators at St. Catherine's in recent years. It apparently came to a head this week with the shocking decision to non-renew one of the state's truly legendary coaches.

Letsch, a 1961 St. Catherine's graduate who also coached football and baseball at the school in the past, won state titles in the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2010. His 2011 squad finished second in the WIAA State Tournament.

In addition, Letsch guided the Angels to state titles in the Wisconsin Independent Schools Athletic Association in 1985, 1992 and 1993.

His teams were known for playing outstanding man-to-man defense and sharing the ball on offense.

Many of Letsch's former players went on to play at the highest level of college basketball, including Jim McIlvaine, Marcus West and Jake Thomas at Marquette, Sharif Cambliss at Wisconsin, Devron Bostick at Minnesota, Steve McWhorter at Indiana State and Milwaukee, Jordan Fouse at Green Bay, James Haarsma at Milwaukee, Dave Mueller at Michigan State, Kevin Griffin at Northern Iowa, Matt Lajeski at Hawaii, DeMarcus Bell at Central Arkansas and Cordero Barkley at Green Bay, among others.

St. Catherine's is expected to field yet another high-quality team next winter as four starters return for the Angels in Zach Rammelt, Kelly Thomas, Romeo Bouie and Jack Cafferty.

Letsch said he's disappointed in the decision, but reflected on his time at St. Catherine's with fond memories.

"At this point, I don't know if I could go back and work for those guys," Letsch said of the administrators at the school. "But I'm OK. I'm 70 years old. If I was 35 ... I'd be upset. But I had a great time at St. Catherine's. I had great kids and great parents."

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