Students and alumni jeer school decision to let go famed basketball coach
RACINE -- Bob Letsch, the beloved boy's basketball coach at st. Catherine's in Racine, is speaking out to TODAY'S TMJ4 about being terminated from his job.
Letsch, 70, attended St. Catherine's as a boy. He then became a teacher there, and coached at the school for the past 49 years.
During his tenure, he coached baseball, football and basketball. As a basketball coach, he earned one of the best records in state history with multiple state championships.
"I've worked with so many great kids," Letsch says. "For me, it's not about the titles or championships, it's about getting the kids to college. Teaching them how to be good men."
He says he was blind sided when the president of St. Catherine's told him he no longer had a job there.
"He told me I needed to retire," he says. "I told him no, that I wanted to keep coaching. But before I knew it, I was having to pack up my office and turn in my key."
Letsch admits his intensity on the court, sometimes carried over into the office. He says he had a series of disagreements with his current bosses, but he never thought it would end like this.
"In some ways I was wrong," he says. "In some ways they were wrong. The hard part is, the kids shouldn't have to be hurt in the process."
His team isn't just hurt, they're angry. Some players are already threatening not to play next year if Letsch doesn't get his job back. They organized two rallies outside the school Monday. But it wasn't just basketball players and other students who showed up. Parents, teachers, coaches, and alumni were also there. Letsch's son and grandsons also attended to show their gratitude and support.
The entire community says they won't stop their fight, until Coach Letsch is back on the bench.
Letsch has already been approached about other coaching opportunities. He says he's exploring his options, but his heart is still with his team at St. Catherine's.