Bob Letsch was unexpectedly let go Saturday from his position as boys’ basketball coach at St. Catherine’s High School.

Letsch, 70, has been coach at SCHS for 35 years, and he has one of the most winningest records in state history. But, earlier this week, he was told by school administration to either retire or resign, according to a story at Wisconsin Sports Net.

School officials are not commenting on the decision beyond saying they can’t discuss personnel matters. St. Cat’s Athletic and Activities Director Corey Scheel released an official statement thanking Letsch for his years of service.

“The importance of Bob’s contributions to SCHS as both a coach and former teacher cannot be overstated. The school thanks him for his thirty-plus years of service to thousands of students and players,” the statement reads. “As with all personnel matters, St. Catherine’s cannot disclose any details no matter the situation.”

The story on wissports.net notes that the relationship between Letsch and school leaders the last few years has been strained.

Letsch told WSN that St. Cat’s President Christopher Olley wanted Letsch to retire, and when he refused, Olley said he wouldn’t retain Letsch for the 2014-2015 school year.

“The President of our school wanted me to retire and I said I wanted to keep on coaching,” Letsch is quoted as saying. “So then he said he would non-renew me as coach so I said you go ahead and non-renew me as coach.”

St. Catherine’s alumni are not taking the news well. Within hours a Facebook page – Support Coach Letsch – was established and comments questioning the move were starting to add up.

Elisabeth Krenzke Erickson wrote, “And there lies the issues with administrations in any business. Control. Coach Letsch is more than a coach he has been a man with integrity that generations of young adults look to as a respected person in their lives. Losing a major part of St Catherine’s history is a mistake that may never be fixed!!!!”
Joe Karlsen agreed.
“Coach Letsch is one of those rare coaches that you allow to coach until HE CALLS IT QUITS!!!!!! Not until a school “administration” THINKS he should! Not a very Christian act from a Catholic school! As an alumni, this is a black eye on the face of a great institution!”
The Angels have won 633 games under Letsch’s direction, including a 19-6 season last year.
Even if mounting pressure from alumni and the parents of current students causes Olley and Scheel to change their minds, Letsch’s return isn’t a sure thing.
“At this point, I don’t know if I could go back and work for those guys,” the story concludes. “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.”
We will update this story when we get additional details.

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